I’m trying out a new weekly feature where I’ll post a new/new-to-me/catchy/awful/corny/whatever/etc Kyrgyz pop music video every Friday. I’ve had a longstanding fascination with pop music in Kyrgyzstan for a while now, and I’ve managed to get lost on Youtube and Namba.kg for hours (no kidding) just watching more and more music videos from Kyrgyz artists. While my grand plans for a photography project documenting Kyrgyzstan’s pop music scene are on hold for now, I still wanted to share some of my favorite finds, and generally just try to introduce people to some new sounds.
Maybe you’re thinking, why pop music? Pop music is fun and catchy, but more than that, it’s popular. This is what’s in-demand in Kyrgyzstan, what all the cool kids are listening to these days. Just like I think it says something about America that I heard “Call Me Maybe” about a trillion times when I was back in the states (it was practically playing non-stop), I think there’s also an impression about Kyrgyzstan (or at least Bishkek, its cosmopolitan capital city) to be gained from being able to listen to what are considered today’s hit songs here.
Anyway. The first video comes from Gulzada, a newer singer to the scene. This is her first music video.
The title, “Jaz”, means “spring” (like the season) in Kyrgyz. It’s a catchy, electronic mix of modern and traditional music styles; that twangy instrument is reminiscent of the jaw harp, which is used in Kyrgyz folk music. Here’s a little blurb I found (in Russian) about her style as a performer.
Also, don’t miss a brief appearance in the coffee shop scene by Axel, the Swedish singer of Plov for Two. He explained that Gulzada’s character is some sort of magical spirit that most people aren’t able to see, so that’s why he has a surprised/concerned expression when he spots her through the window.
So what do you think of the song? Are you curious for more Kyrgyz pop music? Any special requests or recommendations?