Concert of Traditional Folk Music and Debut of the En Belgi Teaching Seminar Participants

Date: December 22, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.

Venue: Kyrgyz National Philharmonic Hall named after T.Satylganov, Bishkek

Working language: Music

The concert was organized by the Aigine CRC with financial support of The Christensen Fund.

On December 22, 2012, the Aigine CRC organized a concert with an aim of presenting the result of its two-year teaching seminar on komuz playing for music teachers throughout the country, and at the same time celebrating 65-year anniversary of our long-time partner, bearer of traditional music and one of the most talented komuz players and composers of our time, Nurak Abdrakhmanov. The audience was exposed to the lifelong work and professional achievements of Nurak Abdrakhmanov and got a taste of his masterpieces throughout the concert. The program of the 2,5 hour performance entirely consisted of the songs (number of songs) written and melodies (number of melodies) composed by him and different dance styles made to fit his various melodies.

The Aigine CRC fulfilled its objective and initial plan of training and gathering more than fifty komuz players at one stage performing traditional melodies learned by means of the En Belgi music system. Participants of both seminars from different corners of the country, each came with two-three students, who learned komuz playing with the En Belgi. The age range of the students was diverse, from elementary school to university students. Participants from mountainous Murgab, Tajikistan were also able to come to Bishkek and take a proactive participation in the concert heavy snow and difficult road notwithstanding.  It is also important to emphasize devotion and efforts of participants from Osh province in promoting the En Belgi system and conducting a strong publicity campaign. It was difficult not to observe the excitement, joy and motivation of students during rehearsals; it was also quite pleasant to observe how N. Abdrakhmanov was radiating with joy while working with students and the participants. Thus, we witnessed the “birth” of the third – young generation of komuz players, revitalization of traditional mentorship system and transmission of traditional music from one generation to another.

The performance on the stage of National Philharmonic Hall was a debut and a first time experience for our seminar participants and their students. Additionally, they were not a professional musicians specifically trained for performances. However, their skillful komuz playing and team spirit, while performing in an ensemble, was striking. It was a perfect prove of their devotion to traditional music culture and motivation in mastering komuz. Several participants of the seminar had solo performances by playing N. Abdrakhmanov’s advanced level melodies. According to representatives of the National Philharmonic Hall, performance of an ensemble of 65 people in one stage was an exclusive and one of its kind performance. N. Abdrakhmanov himself was amazed how it was possible for all these 65 people to form an ensemble in three days (rehearsal days) and master difficult melodies. We wouldn’t be mistaken to state that the audience enjoyed and was fascinated by the performance of the En Belgi ensemble.

The renowned Manas epic chanters, Rysbai Isakov, Zamirbek Bayaliev and Doolotbek Sydykov opened the concert with their enchanting and powerful epic recitation, thus imbuing the concert atmosphere with Kyrgyz spirituality. Beautiful performance by the Kyrgyz National Folklore and Ethnographic Group Kambarkan, as always, presented positive and dynamic vibrations and mood elevation.

The concert was also enriched by unique and classic folk melody Syngan Bugu performed by the most outstanding komuz players of our time Anara Esengulova, Namazbek Uraliev, Nurak Abdrakhmanov and Saadabai Shabdanov. These four musicians represent music traditions of different regions, Naryn, Issyk-Kul and Osh, they inherited peculiar aspects of playing folk melodies from their mentors. Therefore, performance of Syngan Bugu by Kalamoldo Orozov was an exceptional performance, each playing in their unique style. It also needs to be pointed out that we tried to establish regional and gender consolidation of older-generation traditional komuz players in one stage. The rationale of performing Syngan Bugu was a tribute to respect to and reminiscence of its author Karamoldo Orozov, who would turn 130 years in 2012. The Aigine CRC also tried to depict succession of one generation of komuz players by another.

The audience became ensorcelled by traditional and dub-step dance styles accompanied by mellifluous sounds of the komuz melodies. These two dance styles represented two dimensions of tradition and modernity. Both dances were performed to N. Abdrakhmanovs’s melodies; beautiful performance by young girls of Ak Maral dance group was an embodiment of classical and traditional choreography. Although the performance was charming and full of grace, it lacked, in our view, a touch of freshness. However, this touch of freshness was brought to light buy group of talented young men, We’ll Be, representatives of contemporary dubstep dance style. They became the first dance group in Kyrgyzstan developing dance moves to such sophisticated komuz melodies such as Atillakhan, Song-Kol and Uluu Toolor by N. Abdrakhmanov. The audience was truly amazed and fascinated by the performance. Such an authentic fusion of modern dance art and traditional music is a powerful combination and example of bringing traditions into contemporary. This performance, in our opinion, sets a great example, to young generation, on how to develop interest and passion to traditional music and use it in different aspect of contemporary life.

The performance by contemporary young singers, and Kyrgyz popstars, such as Altynkyz Abdrakhmanova, Askat Musabekov, Meerim Karypova, Karlygach Nogoibaeva and Yulia Rutskaya brought dynamic and diversity to the event. N. Abdrakhmanov’s profound songs about life and love rendered by young singers gave new light to them. Long-forgotten songs talented musicians of older generation was, for the first time on public, performed by N. Abdrakhmanov, the only remaining musician, who keeps these and other old songs and melodies in his memory. Representatives of older generation received much joy and excitement while listening to the songs of their youth.

The event received extensive media coverage before, during and after the concert. The event was announced and broadcasted in several national TV and Radio channels, namely OTKR, ElTR, Ekho Manasa, Kyrgyz Radio and Azattyk. The announcement was also published and disseminated online, on national and private informational web portals (e.g.,, etc.). Local representative of the Turkish TV channel made a special coverage on the concert and N.Abdrakhmanov before the event. Articles on event are to be published in the following local newspapers, Super Info and Vecherniy Bishkek.