KYRGYZ VOCAL MUSIC

   One of the most immediately striking features of Kyrgyz vocal music is the ability of its finest exponents to sustain notes at full volume for a seemingly superhuman duration.

Salamat Sadikova

Song Excerpt: "Qïzïl gül "(Red Flower)
Traditional
Salamat Sadikova, vocals & komuz

"Enjoy your life while you still have your petals,
Don't let suffering spread in your body.
Don't exhaust the voice of the nightingale
Singing beautifully in the garden."


Click here for audio sample ('Qïzïl gül' ) to open in its own small window.
Or click on the direct link: Qïzïl gül_mp3


Baktybek Shatenov
Baktybek Shatenov
Click here for audio sample ('Alymkan' ) to open in its own small window.
Or click on the direct link: Alymkan_mp3.

Song Excerpt: "Alymkan"
Composer: Bektemir Eginçiyev
Baktybek Shatenov, vocals & komuz

"The mountains of Kashgar are the final destination,
Birds come back upon reaching them;
Please come back to me,
Don't make me suffer."

   Kyrgyz vocal music is called ïr. Singer-composers who extemporaneously compose songs on a given topic are called akyns. In a long-standing tradition parallel to that of West Indian Calypso, contests of spontaneous composition pit akyn against akyn and can go on for hours. Here an akyn from Osh praises his nation's Independence.


Tonusov Toktorbay Click here for audio sample ('Improvisation') to open in its own small window.
Or click on the direct link: Vocal Improvisation_mp3

Song Excerpt: "Improvisation"
Composer: Toktorbay Tonusov
Toktorbay Tonusov, vocals

"I will not regret for the things that are past,
I will not regret for the things that are gone,
I am satisfied with my happy life.
We have become independent people,
Equaling America (USA)!
Look, brothers! Everyone knows about us now!
The Kyrgyz flag is fluttering at the United Nations."


   Inevitably, after over a century of Slavic cultural domination, Russian harmonic and melodic elements have become a part of Kyrgyz tradition.


Click here for audio sample ('Esi˝debi') to open in its own small window.
Or click on the direct link: Esiñdebi_mp3

Song Excerpt: "Esi˝debi" (Do You Remember?)
Composer: Rïspay Abdïkadïrov
Artists: Baktybek Shatenov, vocals & komuz and Bermet Orozbekova, vocals & komuz

 and Baktybek Shatenov "When I look at your picture
It reminds me of the flowers blooming on the shores of the lake.
Do you remember those evening conversations
Sweet words bursting from our hearts?
Countless stars would look down at us
And, fighting over us,
We would play all night until dawn."
Bermet Orezbekova

   Following Independence and the birth of the Kyrgyz Republic in 1991, songs celebrating the so-called `Switzerland of Central Asia' were composed. This one, featuring the orchestra of the Kyrgyz national folk ensemble, Kambarkan, is reportedly the favorite song of the Kyrgyz Republic's President, Askar Akaev.

Click here for audio sample ('Kïrgïz jeri) to open in its own small window.
Or click on the direct link: Kïrgïz jeri_mp3

Song Excerpt: "Kïrgïz jeri" (Kyrgyz Land)
Composer: Apaz Jaynaqov
Artist: Salamat Sadikova, vocals

"When the snow-capped mountains wear their white kalpaks*,
When the cliffs touch the blue sky,
I also set out to meet the dawn
And embrace the hills with my songs.
Light brings greatness to the Kyrgyz land;
Songs bring beauty to the Kyrgyz land."

* kalpak =
traditional man's hat
Salamat Sadikova