The Kyrgyz folklore is abundant in lyrical songs,
the leitmotif of which is love. And it is quite inherent in the people
living in this country. It seems as if everything here has been
specially created for love, and the authors derive their inspiration
for creating love songs from the beauty of the mountain land they are
native to. After all, the mountains and the Kyrgyz people are
The beauty of mountains generates and shapes the
beauty of feelings. Just step on a Kyrgyz mountain path, and you will
hear: silver murmur of a brook, rustle of blossoming grass, tender
whisper of wind. Once you mount higher, horse neighing is wafted to
your ears, as well as echoes of shepherds' voices, resounding chimes of
birds' singing, and rumble of waterfalls. Through scrubs, your eye
catches twinkling glints from a brook, the wind from jailoo brings
along scents of fresh milk and kumys, fragrant with mountain grasses
and fireplace smokes. Your lungs, as well as your brain and the whole
body, are imbued with that exciting feeling whose name is love.
the love inherent in the Kyrgyz people is so strong that even the
Nature, Her Majesty, bows down before it. Many legends tell about that.
The most known is the legend about the "Broken Heart" mountain near the
Issyk Kul lake. It tells us that once upon a time there lived a cruel,
rich, old khan. He had many wives. One day, while hunting, he saw a
fine young girl with long black hair, graceful gait of swan and eyes of
wild roedeer. Right on setting his eyes on her, there and then, he
decided to take to wife the girl. The girl was of poor family and,
besides, betrothed to her childhood sweetheart. As soon as they became
aware of the khan's intentions, they decided to flee and immediately
they set off, but the khan ordered his soldiers to run them down. Far
in mountains the pursuers caught the lovers. The soldiers killed the
young man, and the girl was taken away against her will. She could not
outlive the death of her beloved, her heart was broken, and she died on
the way back. At that moment the Nature shuddered, and right in that
place there appeared a mountain in the shape of a broken heart in
memory of that fine love of bygone days.
A great number of beautiful love songs are very popular among the
people and are passed on by word of mouth, from generation to
generation. Nowadays, the most known performer of lyrical folk songs is
Bakyt Shatenov. The prominent creator preserves and develops merits and
values of folk songs. For his talent, he was awarded Grand Prix at the
Talas Tanshyit international festival, in 2001, and he is a winner of
many other popular festivals and contests. Bakyt Shatenov is one of the
founders of the very first folk band "Kambarkan". Bakyt is not simply
skillfully, but masterly performs ancient classical melodies on
national instruments, such as komuz, kyl-kyiak, zhyghach ooz-komuz,
Komuz is fabled to be made by Kambar, an ancient hunter; it was he who
became the first komuzist. Komuz is a three-stringed instrument. A
komuzchu (performer) holds it in a horizontal position. Its base is
made of a single-piece block of wood, usually uryuk or archa, or, less
often, walnut or redwood. Its sound is sonorous, emphatic, or, on the
contrary, gentle and refined.
Kyl-kyiak is a stringed bow instrument. It is made of the same sorts of
wood as komuz. It has two strings and a bow - dzhaa. The shape of kyiak
is scoop-like, the upper half of the base is open, and the lower half
is covered with a camel skin. The strings are made of untwisted
horsehair. The timbre of kyiak is muffled, gentle. On this instrument,
it is possible to imitate intonations of a human voice.
is a metallic instrument played by plucking, the material is brass,
bronze, or copper (temir means "iron"). The instrument is held near the
mouth that serves as a natural resonator. For every sound there is a
special position of the 'performing set' that includes lips, mouth,
throat, lungs, and, certainly, hands of the musician. The sound of the
instrument is mild, silvery, with an aerial shade.
We would like to offer you the text of a typical song performed by
Bakyt Shatenov, giving the idea of how lyrical, multiaspectual, and
allegorical the Kyrgyz love is.
I am a
nightingale singing at dawn,
And you are a fragrant mountain
You are a heavenly star
With a moonlike enchanting
To get vivid, objective, and visual idea of genuine life of the Kyrgyz
people, you can go to one of Nelya Barakanova's folklore soiree. She is
the director of a high school in Cholpon-Ata, Issyk Kul region, and
conducts a folk group that she founded in 1999. The specificity of the
group is that it immerses the spectator into a fantastic ancient world
of traditions, customs, rites, life stories of the Kyrgyz, through
songs, legends, dances, national dishes, and taking walks in the most
picturesque places of Kyrgyzstan.
Many ancient traditions bear in themselves a profound philosophical
core and take a form of some ritual. One of such rituals is drinking
kumys a horsemilk drink.
If you are invited for a bowl of kumys, you will enjoy the company of
those who are close to you, while being released from daily cares. The
core idea of kumys-drinking is to achieve peace through a bowl of the
magic sparkling drink.
Offered with all due deference and respectfully accepted, the bowl of
kumys slakes your thirst and gives you spiritual strength. The ceremony
of kumys-drinking rests upon harmony in relationships between people
and the nature. It is a kind of respect paid to all and sundry. It
arises from sincere gratitude for existence as such. And, to crown it
all, kumys-drinking is purity, both physical and spiritual. The very
peace of mind that comes unconsciously and unintentionally; that is, in
fact, the very reason why kumys is made.
Djaparovna is a devoted popularizer of the Kyrgyz folklore. Her
contribution was highly estimated even by the great writer Chinghiz
Aitmatov, as well as by the first lady Mairam Akayeva and great number
of other prominent people from Kyrgyzstan and abroad.
Since the earliest times, the Kyrgyz people have been setting a high
value on love, relationships, intimate contact with each other; hence,
there comes hospitality that runs in the veins of the people.
Perhaps, this is the main feeling that arises in and delights all
guests of Kyrgyzstan. Socializing with the hearty people and
exceptionally beautiful nature leaves indelible impressions on you. And
you are cordially invited by the tourist company "Asian Roads" to get
acquainted with all magnificence of the Kyrgyz people's cultural