Kyrgyz Music Friday is a weekly feature in which I post a pop music video from an artist in Kyrgyzstan. It could be catchy, annoying, funny, insightful, brilliant, awful, or anything in between. It’s what’s playing on the radio, what all the cool kids are listening to these days. Kyrgyz Music Friday is not trying to appeal to your musical taste (which I’m sure is awesome), but simply gives you a glimpse into how pop music is done on this side of the world. Feel free to share your thoughts on this week’s video in the comment section!
Even though Kyrgyzstan has a relatively small music scene, I still make a distinction in my head between the big pop superstars, and the more “local”, approachable acts. When there’s only one real city center for music (Bishkek), I guess all acts can be considered “local” to some extent, but considering I’ve seen this particular group perform several times with little effort on my part, they stick out in my head as part of a specific group of live bands that performs at Bishkek clubs, rather than the shiny-music-video crowd.
This is Eholami (Эхолами) and their video for the song “Akuli” (“Акулы”, which means “sharks” in Russian). What’s so awesome about this group? 1) They have an accordion player, which adds a kitschy touch to their 1960s lounge-music style. 2) Twins. Yeaaaah, high five! The most recognizable members of the group are Dina and Gulnara, identical half-Kyrgyz/half-Russian twins, who play rhythm guitar/lead vocals (Dina) and drums/back-up vocals (Gulnara). They’re adorable and fun and great musicians. I’ve seen them whip out spontaneous jam sessions at parties that put other local bands (ahem) to shame.
and 3) they’re performing tomorrow night! They’re playing at an Italian restaurant close to my house (practically walking distance, this lazy introvert’s dream come true), so obviously Farrell and I will head down there to see them. If you’re in town and have 100 som ($2) burning a hole in your pocket, you should go too! Details can be found here.
I love that the video is supremely budget (the description for the video says they spent $1.50 making it), but still lends a dreamy, color-saturated vibe to the song. I wish all of my trips on public transportation could be so charming. Plus, the song is recorded well (are those real drums I hear!?), and it’s chilled-out and easy to listen to.
Happy Friday, friends! I hope your weekend is as charming and chill as this song.