Archive for November 13, 2007

Peculiar Traditional Turkic Music

Student Government has honor to invite you to the peculiar 

Evening of Traditional Turkic Music 

We hope you would be delighted and have a good time spending on listening to the sounds of a great steppe. 

Above was the invitation I got over e-mail about 3-4 hours before the stated performance last night in the Great Hall.  “Turkic music” seemed a pleasant way to pass the evening with my husband so I consented to meet him down the hill from where we live.  Was it ever a treat!!!  In fact, it was actual Kazakh music with different instruments ranging from er-hu (two stringed instruments) to Kazakh type banjos or dombars to kymyz like a rubberband twang like mouth organ to reed instruments.  There must have been at least 25 performers who were all presumably university students where Ken teaches.  Of course, each act was introduced in Kazakh so I could only guess what was being said.  Good thing that music is a universal language!!!

 What is it about television cameras here in Central Asia?  They are about the size of t.v. sets and seem very intrusive in taking their video footage.  If I had been a performer on the stage, I would have objected to their noisy snapping of tripods and stopped in order to start over.  These cameramen moved around the front, panned the audience with a bright light, then thankfully left.  Found out that the concert was actually on this morning’s t.v. news.  Yes, the brightly lit stage with colorful costumes was something to behold.   

However, more annoying than the two cameras were four students off to our right in the back row where we sat.  One was talking on his cell phone, while the others were jabbering away with each other.  Finally, I asked the woman who looked American sitting in front of us, “Are you a teacher here?”  She said, “No, do you want me to do something about them?”  I said yes, because I was about to knock their knuckleheads together, so much was the disciplinary teacher rising up in me.  Whatever she said to them seemed to do the trick.  She left early before I could thank her yet I moved down to the second row to get a better view of the amazing performances. 

One of my favorite was a young man on a dombar instrument who was playing a song and looking like he was trying to catch a pesky fly.  His facial expressions were priceless since he appeared to be an inscrutable Asian.  His last note of his funny number was catching the fly with a thump on his instrument.  Another act I enjoyed was to see eight of these instruments play in unison.  There was one talented left handed player and the rest were right-handed.  It seemed to take more time for them to set up their chairs and microphones than the actual number they played.  I wanted more.  One dancer looked supple in her red and yellow dress, rather coquettish with her eye movements.  Other girls sang and played while one girl had something like a HUGE autoharp that she plucked. 

At the end they were all on the stage and giving out yells of challenge to who would perform next.  A dueling banjo kind of act between a young man and woman appeared. To me it was a draw, both were impressive.  Then back to four instruments playing in unison with their different hand motions while also playing the instruments on their shoulders.  

 Fun to be reminded what Jyldyz did to entertain us at our wedding reception 14 years ago with her act of playing the Kyrgyz traditional instrument.  Nothing peculiar about it!!!

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