Holiday of Modern Ethnic Music Held in Almaty

ethnic musicALMATY – The Spirit of Tengri, an international festival of contemporary ethnic music held June 7 with a live sound and light show, has become a real gift to the citizens of the city.

Established by the national radio Tengri FM, the multi-cultural project is aimed at demonstrating the ethnic traditions of the world’s cultures.

For the second time it gathered ethno musicians from many countries, including countries from the Eurasian continent, Ecuador, Japan and Austria. This year the festival was dedicated to “Almaty – the cultural capital of CIS” and held in the open air in the square before the Palace of the Republic. The event also significantly expanded its geography, as 13 creative teams from ten countries performed their famous songs as well as the songs from their new albums.

Several thousand people gathered to hear masters of throat singing and virtuosos playing ethnic musical instruments. The holiday opened with three Kazakh groups: Roksonaki, who have successfully synthesised Turkic shamanistic tradition with Kazakh musical and poetic heritage; Aldaspan, the only ethnic rock band in the world playing the electric dombra, and the Sharapat team, which for the first time demonstrated playing the electric zhetygen, a Kazakh musical instrument.

The team from Gornaya Shoria, in the Kemerovo region of Russia, impressed the audience with the sound of their national instruments, kai-komus, kobrak and tambourine. Its soloist Chyltys Tannagasheva demonstrated the traditional style of throat singing of the Shor people.

The Kyrgyz team Gulzada artistically conveyed the ethnic originality of their musical culture. “We are participating in this wonderful festival for the second time,” said its soloist Gulzada Ryskulova. “It shows that the interest in ethnic music is increasing. This is not surprising. After all, in this music we hear the voice of our ancestors, the identity of a people, their history and culture. Ryskulova said she writes the stylised music and lyrics herself and tries to unite younger and older generations with her songs.

No less enthusiastically the audience welcomed the other participants of the festival: the Turkish group Baba Zula, instrumentalists from Georgia The-Shin, the Ecuadorian team Yaric-Ecuador, Argymak group from Bashkortostan, Buryat duet Namgar, singer Sainkho Namtchylak (Tuva) and artist Bolot Bairyshev, the group Belukha Jam from the Altai region and a famous master of Tuvan throat singing Radik Tyulyush.

As the organisers of the festival noted, there was a time when ethnic music and ethnic musical instruments of different peoples had completely disappeared from the music scene. Until recently it seemed that the time of original music and musical instruments had passed. But the cultural significance of ethnic music and instruments is undeniable. That’s why their adherents sought a compromise and began to promote ethnomusic and musical instruments, combining them with the attributes of modern life. The ethnic trend in music is gaining in popularity among listeners. For musicians, it’s a great opportunity not only to revive the forgotten tradition, but also to make a name abroad.

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