my intro to Kyrgyz pop music

December 14, 2011 · 3 comments

in Kyrgyzstan, photo post

On November 27, I attended a concert in Bishkek that was organized by the Kyrgyz branch of the Red Crescent for HIV/AIDS awareness. As of now, I’m pretty lost when it comes to knowing who’s who in Kyrgyzstan’s pop music scene, but it was an interesting opportunity to see these performers live and see how the crowds reacted to each one, allowing me to guess at who are the superstars based on how loudly the girls screamed and how hard they swooned. There were a lot of rap performances, which I wasn’t completely expecting. Definitely some hits and misses, and there’s definitely so much more to follow up on in the future.

And that’s exactly what I’ll be doing! I’m in the beginning phases of what will become a long-term photography/multimedia project on Kyrgyzstan’s pop music scene. I plan on interviewing singers, rappers, performers, record producers, music video producers, radio DJs, fans, aspiring stars, and pretty much anybody who’s willing to talk with me. If you’d like to get involved, think you can be of any help, or just want to send me info about your favorite musician in Kyrgyzstan, please PLEASE email me! kirstin {at} ivorypomegranate {dot} com


The crowd waits to enter the Sports Palace, where the show was held.


A poster in Russian and Kyrgyz with some quick facts about AIDS and HIV. There were Red Crescent volunteers everywhere to answer questions and pass out informational pamphlets, red ribbons and even condoms.


The crowd gathers at the auditorium entrance, waiting for security to open the doors. There was no charge to attend the concert, which probably added to its appeal among many young attendees. By the time the show started, the venue was nearly full.


Omurbek Andarbekov (better known as “Oma”) sang a song in Kyrgyz and one in English as well, Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”


Performances, which also included hip-hop dance groups and stand-up comedians, were interspersed with opportunities for audience members to win prizes based on their knowledge of HIV/AIDS.


The audience listens as an emcee explains myths and facts regarding HIV/AIDS.


Another emcee tosses Red Crescent t-shirts into the audience.


A performer sings in Kyrgyz.


Two members of a larger group are pictured performing a rap in Russian.


One of the few female performers of the entire night, and the only one to stand next to her partner (a member of 02.14, not pictured) rather than near the back of the stage.


An energetic duo, Johnny Dee and Twix make up the rap group “No Comment.”


The biggest heartthrob of the night, Nurbek (in red) jumped into the crowd during his performance to sing directly to an audience of screaming fans. Dima, one half of the rap duo Oakland, can be seen on the right as they perform “Malyshka Bee.”


02.14, a group consisting of several rappers and a singer performs the song “Love Theme.”


A member of 02.14 (a group named in honor of Valentine’s Day) performs “Love Theme.”


One rapper from the group 02.14 helped wrap up the end of the performance while Red Crescent volunteers stood on stage. By this time, many audience members left their seats and rushed to the front of the stage to be closer to the action, capturing it all with cell phones and cameras.


Red Crescent volunteers sang a song the end of the show under a flurry of confetti.

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