Something new: Kyrgyz Music Friday

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 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?

11 replies on “Something new: Kyrgyz Music Friday”

  1. Very entertaining!! Two questions 1) What is she wearing on her head? and 2) did you notice that the piper is reading Anne Frank’s diary?!

    1. I think it’s some sort of headband/headdress thing. It doesn’t look like any traditional Kyrgyz headwear though. And I did notice that! Even weirder is that he’s reading it in English.

    1. Feel free to use it as inspiration to fill up your blog with K-pop videos (my guilty pleasure!)

  2. I liked the music – I could see humming along in the car while driving mindlessly. The video only partially pulls off the mystical quality I think they were searching for.

    1. I would have to agree. If Axel hadn’t told me a bit about the story line, then I would have just thought she was being kind of creepy.

  3. One of the best Kyrgyz pop-songs I’ve heard/seen..
    I’ve been looking for this sort of thing!

  4. 1. Almaz Shaadaev: This guy has a real potential. Good song narrating Kyrgyz sounds with popular music:!/video/175808/ The refrain part is really flowing.

    2. Why no mention about our tinaturnerous Kanikey?!/video/174167/ A good example to show what may happen when singers meet the right producers, even in low-level showbusiness industry.

    3. Eles: Very talented singers group The song was written half a century ago. But it’s still popular. Legendary song & legendary performance.

    4. Epic clip of epic song: I call it the history of independent Kyrgyzstan.

    5. In 1960’s, cool kids of Kyrgyzstan were listening to this: Watch their confidence on the stage while they perform really difficult & kick-ass composition by Atay Ogonbay.

    6. This song has a history, too. A russian speaking & ethnic german Kyrgyzstani singing one of the most beautiful Kyrgyz songs!/video/795081/

    7. Erlan Andashev – Sagyndyrba:!/video/200037/ With Arpa beer, or at least with Maksym Shoro, this song may fire up even the most boring/bored people. IMHO.

    Looking forward to read your next Friday post.

    1. Oh believe me, Kanykey will make her grand debut soon. I think it would be impossible to talk about Kyrgyz pop music without her, and besides that, I’m obsessed with her. Thanks for all of the other suggestions! I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t heard of most of these.

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