Once a year, the Jersey Access Group, a forum for promoting quality operations for New Jersey’s public television stations, holds an awards ceremony to recognize video excellence from the previous year.
The winner in the category of “Diversity Programming” for 2011 was a program on “Kalymk-American Traditions” hosted by Angus Kress Gillespie. The program was broadcast by East Brunswick Television as part of Gilespie’s series “Old Ways in New Jersey.”
The program showcased the little-known group of about 3,000 Kalmyk-Americans in New Jersey. Their community was originally established during the 1950s in Howell, New Jersey. These people were originally refugees from Russia and were rapidly assimilated.
In the program, Gillespie interviewed Tserendorj Amarhanov, who is representative of the revival of Kalmyk culture around the world. Amaranhov was born in Philadelphia in 1980 and raised in the greater Philadelphia area.
He left America at the age of 17 and lived in both Kalmykia and Mongolia before returning to the U.S. at age 21. He is a Kalmyk folk-musician, multi-instrumentalist, composer and throat-singer.
Amarhanov is not only a musician, but also a historian and spokesman for the group, which has a fascinating history
- Cultural Revival in Europe’s Only Buddhist Region (newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)
- All-American Lama: How an 11th Century Mystic Was Reborn in Philadelphia (time.com)