On April 22, the final presentation of the video version of the epic trilogy “Manas, Semetei and Seytek” was held in Bishkek, in the small hall of the National Library of the Kyrgyz Republic, within the framework of the Week of Traditional Music, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of T. Satylganov.

April 22 was the day dedicated to the epic heritage and the creativity of the storytellers. The main organizers of the Day of the Epic were the Cultural Research Center Aigine, the Kyrgyz State University of Culture and Arts “B. Beishenalieva” and the Music-Pedagogical-College “T. Ermatova”.

The program of the event consisted of several parts. First, the event was opened by the famous akyn Asamat Bolgonbaev, president of the public foundation “Aytysh”, who presented the program of the day in verse form. The choir of the Music-Pedagogical-College “T. Ermatova” sang a song by T. Satylganov and gave the audience the morning charge of vivacity. The vice-president of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, academician Akmataliev A.A., opened the official part of the day and stressed the importance of preserving and understanding the epic heritage of one’s people.

The second part of the program was devoted to the scientific study of epics. The report was meant to be read by the outstanding expert on the history and typology of epics, S.Y. Neklyuodov (Moscow, Russia). However, due to uncontrollable circumstances, the flight from Moscow to Bishkek on April 21st was canceled, and the scientist could not arrive in Bishkek on time. Nevertheless, Aigine prepared a series of questions based on his lectures and held a segment on “forming knowledge”. The students of various colleges displayed remarkable interest and created an atmosphere of vibrant discussion in the hall. For their independent and analytical reflection on the heroic epic, the students received a reward in the form of a video-disc of the epic trilogy.

The third part of the program was devoted to the art of storytellers, such as manaschys, kaichis and dastanchis.

The Kazakh storyteller Bajangali Alimzhanov, the Kyrgyz storytellers Kubanychbek Almabekov, Salimbay Tursunbaev, Rysbay Isakov, Samirbek Bajaliev, Kamil Mamadaliev, Ulan Ismailov and Doolot Sydykov told excerpts from the episodes in the way of “Ulama”. There were two special and distinct moments during this performance. First, the dastan and akyn from Kazakhstan, Bajangali Alimzhanov, is a representative of the Kazakh people, which affects the “Manas” epic. It was he who began the epic tale, which was then continued by the manaschys. The second moment was the unplanned appearance of a young boy who went on stage and sat down in line with the older narrators, and when the tale reached him, he told an episode from the epic. The audience wildly applauded the young storyteller. The miraculous appearance of the little boy in the ranks of famous storytellers was a sign that the ancient Kyrgyz epic has a promising future.

Generally, the tale of the epic told in the way of “ulama” magically attracts listeners. After the presentations, the storytellers were asked questions, and the spectators who asked the most interesting questions received prizes- Aigine CRC calendars for 2014, devoted to the inclusion of the epic trilogy in the UNESCO representative list of intangible cultural heritage.

The program of the day continued with Bayangali Alimzhanov, a Kazakh akyn, storyteller and manaschy. He spoke about the surviving of epics and dastans of the Kazakh people and performed short excerpts. The guests from Altai, kaychi Emil Terkishev and his wife and partner in creative works, Radmila Terkishevy, astonished the hall with their skillful playing on the Altai traditional musical instruments, as well as their extraordinary throat singing. Emil performed an excerpt from the Altai heroic epic “Alyp Manash” by throat singing, accompanied by a topshur.

The performance by Chyltys Taangasheva, a kaychi of Gornaya Shoria, Siberia, marked the conclusion of the day. Chyltys has the unique talent to play sounds of nature- the sounds of the taiga, where she grew up. Chyltys also skillfully masters the kai komuz and has an amazing voice. The art in her performance was full of deep meaning and affected the soul of each and every listener. Chyltys talked a while about the heroic epics of her people, of which there are around 200. Many of these epics were written down and published. She also stressed that the preservation of one’s history and peoples begins with the preservation of one’s epic heritage. The final part of the event was a theatrical performance by students of the faculty of directing and acting at the Kyrgyz State University for Culture and Art “B. Beishenalieva”. The students performed excerpts from the Manas epic and the life of T. Satylganov. Their performance was excellent and captured the audience. The event also encompassed an exhibition of books and audio and video materials on the epic trilogy. Exhibition materials were provided by Aigine CRC, NGOs “Manas Muras” and “Uluu Bayan”, as well as “Echo of Manas”. Students and teachers studied the books and video material with great interest.

Problematic elements of the event were the continuity of the program and the system of filling the hall. The program lasted for 4.5 hours without intermission. At the suggestion of the organizing partners, the event’s attendance was organized by a “change of method”: students from various colleges came at different times, interested in this or that part of the program. Such an approach was tested for the first time. Dividing up the listeners’ time rationally created a challenge for the organizers. At some moments, the hall was overcrowded: no place to sit or stand. At other times, the hall looked almost empty. Nevertheless, despite the movement and change of listeners, the participation and involvement from the audience was excellent. This was noted by all who went on stage. The attention and sincere applause from the audience motivated and energized the guest speakers.

Aigine CRC expresses thanks to its key partners: the Kyrgyz State University for Culture and Art “B. Beyshenalieva” and the Music-Pedagogical College “T. Ermatova”, as well as other organizers: the Kyrgyz Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Science Academy, the National Library, the NGO for Traditional Music, and also all participants of the event.