Kyrgyz Music Friday

Kyrgyz Music Friday is a (sometimes) 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!

Another Gulzada concert! Recently I attended a concert, by Gulzada and three other performers, called Voice of Nature. Through some friend-of-a-friend connections, I had “VIP” access (or maybe there were no seats left, I got to sit on the floor in front of the stage) to what was not an ordinary pop music performance. Gulzada was joined by Saaryn and Yuliana, two performers from Sakha-Yakutia (a region in Russia), and Chyltys Tannagasheva, who is from the Shor ethnic group (also from a region in Russia).

The night was billed as a meditative experience, and attendees were invited to dress comfortably and bring their own pillows to encourage them to enter into a trance, which the music was supposed to facilitate. From my view, it didn’t seem like anybody took that advice.

Gulzada is apparently trying to brand her style of music as shamanistic and Tengristic, relating to the old, Central Asian religion called Tengrism. Her music definitely has elements of mysticism and tends to have long, droning interludes of humming and moaning. I can see the connection that if somebody wanted to meditate to her music, they probably could. It’s just not my thing.

Compared to the other artists, Gulzada was the most mainstream. Yuliana is a master of the khomus, an instrument that goes by several other names, such as the Jaw Harp.

Saaryn is a singer with a distinctive, exotic style.

Chyltys is a throat singer.

I had my reservations about whether or not I would enjoy the show. While it’s not the kind of music I would seek out normally, it was really interesting to witness performances by people who really excel at what they do.

All in all, a bit weird, but definitely entertaining.

My camera’s memory card was acting a bit funny, so I could only take short videos. Yuliana and Chyltys also incorporated animal sounds into their performances. Hmm! I know, that part was a bit wacky. But like I said, at least they’re good at what they do.

3 replies on “Kyrgyz Music Friday”

  1. Great post! Where in Bishkek (I assume) were they playing? I’m trying to find some venues in Kyrgyzstan where I can listen to similar music, maybe you can recommend some places for me? 🙂

    1. Sorry for the late reply! This show was at the Metro, on Chuy/Tynystanova (the old shadow puppet theater). I’m not sure where else artists like these guys might perform, maybe the Philharmonic or the Russian Drama Theater.

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