Kazakh Stradivarius Creates Music of the Ages

ZHAMBYL REGION – BaltabaiDaurbekov, ofthe village of Igilik, creates such fine musical instruments,some of his customers call him the Kazakh Stradivarius.

He made his first instrument in his youth, then was so attracted to it that he eventually started his own business. Now his children and grandchildren helphim.

“A true master must be sensitive to music,”he said. “This would require playingboth dombra and kobyz very well. Only with such skills can one understand the language of the instrument,which is born in your hands;understand and teach it to sound louder and more melodic. In the south of the country, folk instruments are held in special honour. In villages, it is impossible to imagine the Kazakh weddingwithout them. In recent times, they sound in national weddings and regional centres, which makes me very happy. After all, this is the music of our ancestors, for whom dombraand kobyz were friends in joy and in sorrow for centuries.”

In different parts of Kazakhstan, dombraswere made in different ways. In some regions,a teardrop shape is attached toa long, slim neck;in others, a flat deck with a short, thick neck is preferred. Daurbekovcan manufacture tools on request of the client, given the characteristics of its execution.

In the sacrament of creation there are no trifles. Dombra or kobyz are made only from solid, aged wood, with no signs of rot or dampness. Otherwise, theywillnot sound. The body, deck, shell and fastening parts – everything must be done at the highest level. Some parts have a thickness of one to two millimetres and work on them requires not only knowledge of the material, but also extreme accuracy, precision andinspiration. The same attitude is applied to the strings. For dombra, they are made from goat or lamb intestines;for kobyz, from horsehair.

Folk instruments have always been faithful companions of Kazakhs. Try to imagine famous KurmangazySagyrbaiulyor ZhambylZhabayevwithout dombras.Yet today’syouth studying in music schools don’t have enough good instruments. For any talented performer, and especially a professional, it is extremely important to have a dombra or kobyz that would pass all shades of thoughts and feelingsof the musician.

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