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!
This week’s video is “Plus” by Abir Kasenov (“Плюс” Абир Касенов). Here we have a fairly non-threatening attempt at something techno and danceable. Thumping beats, repetitive chorus, psychedelic video, check check check! Questionable elements of the song include the soft-rock piano at the beginning, and the over-auto-tuned “reeeeemiiiiix” that follows. Aren’t there rules against calling a song a “remix” unless there is an original mix already released in the first place? You have to provide context!
The video has a lovely violet color palette and a mirror-image effect that runs the entire length of the video, featuring four dancers: hair flip girl (a seizure-inducing amount of hair flips), baseball cap guy (reminds me of someone who taught himself to dance in his mom’s basement, Napoleon Dynamite-style), beanie guy (or is it a fedora?), and hatless guy (Michael Jackson wannabe).
Abir Kasenov has a more recent song, sung in Kyrgyz, called “Кетпе дейсиң“, but it doesn’t have a video yet. I have a theory about singers in Kyrgyzstan; their first few songs will be sung in Russian, then they’ll transition to singing in Kyrgyz. Maybe they’re trying to appeal to a wider market in Kyrgyzstan, outside of the more Russified Bishkek? Maybe they initially have dreams of breaking into the Russian music charts? Maybe it’s a total coincidence and I’m looking at a trend that doesn’t exist? Who knows. My personal theory is that most pop stars are from Bishkek and live the majority of their life speaking Russian, so naturally, their first songs are in Russian. Outside of Bishkek, more people speak Kyrgyz, so as they continue their music careers and want to get more airplay on Kyrgyzstan’s radio stations, they start performing in Kyrgyz. Feel free to chime in on this topic if you wish!