Festival Audio: ‘The Handsome Horse’ by Ih Tsetsn

Ih Tsetsn at Moonrise Pavilion. Photo by Josh Weilepp, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution
Photo by Josh Weilepp, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution

Crowd favorites Ih Tsetsn often got audiences at Moonrise Pavilion hopping, stomping, and spinning with this upbeat love song, “The Handsome Horse.” Singer Dabuxilatu would lead the group until his heavy robe and the high humidity brought the dance to a clamorous close.

Presenter and professor of East Asian studies Levi Gibbs translated the lyrics:

I am a handsome rider, my horse knows me
It runs like a bird as it flies even when I let go of the reins
Because I miss my adoring girl in the far distance
I am a wise rider, my horse knows me
It runs freely even when I let go of the whips
We run across the grassland to meet my adoring lover