ASTANA – Kazakhstan celebrated Dombyra Day July 1 for the first time ever commemorating its national musical instrument, the dombyra.
The dombyra is a double-string lute instrument and the oldest Kazakh folk instrument. Central to the history of Kazakh people, the dombyra was an integral part of nomad life accompanying nomadic tribes traversing the steppes in the past.
The instrument is also included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Intangible Cultural Heritage List along with kuis, traditional instrumental compositions performed on the dombyra.
In less than three weeks since the Dombyra Day was declared, Kazakhstan was ready to celebrate the holiday nationwide.
Astana witnessed a mass celebration, as 2,000 musicians performed famous Kazakh kuis “Konil Ashar,” “Adai,” “Balbyraun,” “Erke Sylkym,” and “Saryarka” directed by Aitkali Zhaiymov.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev attended the festivities in the heart of Astana.
He emphasised the role of dombyra in his remarks calling it a “soul of Kazakhs reflecting their history, traditions and entire life.”
“Through the sound of strings and melody of kuis, our cultural values and traditions are passed from generation to generation. It is symbolic that the National Day of Dombyra is born in Astana, the heart of an independent Kazakhstan,” said Nazarbayev.
Musicians from different parts of Kazakhstan travelled to the capital for the celebration. The youngest participant was seven years old.
The Kazakh Cultural Centre in Turkey operating for five years in Istanbul also organised celebrations on the coast of the Marmara Sea, performing Kazakh folk songs and instrumental compositions, while the Kazakh embassy in Paris, too, organised a celebration in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower.