Available Recordings of Kyrgyz Music

   A people who regard Attila the Hun as a cultural hero (the title song is an elegy for him)... whose nomadic Turkic-Mongol ancestors were dubbed 'the wild lions of Mogulistan' ... a people whose epic poem, 'Manas,' is the longest in any human tongue (two-and-half times the length of the 'Mahabharata')... who endured over a century under the yoke of two Russian empires... who formed the Kyrgyz Republic late in the 20th century and now labor to reclaim their cultural identity for the 21st... These are the Kyrgyz people of Central Asia. This is their music.

Shüüdüngüt's Road: Music of the Kyrgyz People of Central Asia

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   Shüüdüngüt's Road: Music of the Kyrgyz People of Central Asia is the first full-length anthology of Kyrgyz music to appear on CD in America. It features a variety of traditional instrumental and vocal music performed by artists whose age ranges from ten to 75 years. Performers include members of the Kyrgyz national folk music ensemble, Kambarkan. Virtuosity flies at a fever pitch in their performances, especially the komuz solos. While Kyrgyzstan has been characterized as `the back of beyond,' Kyrgyz music isn't especially exotic or, put another way, weird to Western ears. There is a surprising familiarity and sweetness to many Kyrgyz tunes, augmented by a ferocity befitting a people once labeled `the wild lions of Mogulistan.'

   Shüüdüngüt's Road offers 31 performances of Kyrgyz music (all but two of them field recordings made in 1999 and 2000) with a total playing time of 74:17. The CD is augmented by an illustrated 20-page booklet with commentary and song translations. The musical examples on this website are from Shüüdüngüt's Road and the related release, Salamat Sadikova: The Voice of Kyrgyzstan.

Click here for audio of the title song performed by Nurak Abdïrakhmanov, vocals, accompanied by his own komuz:
Or click on the direct link: Shüüdüngüt's Road_mp3

"Shüüdüngüttün jürüshü" ('Shüüdüngüt's Road' -traditional)

The falcon, separated from his master, Attila Khan,
Shares his grief with the people.
He set out to them from the Balkan mountains.
Oh, Attila! Now I have lost you!
How will I find the road to go back?
How will I find our people living
On the banks of the Volga river?
Who will clothe and feed me?
Will I reach our people
Riding on the bull Shüüdüngüt?
Or will I die in despair without you?

Salamat Sadikova: The Voice of Kyrgyzstan

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   Salamat Sadikova is the favorite traditional singer of the Kyrgyz people. Her robust voice, capable of holding notes for a seemingly superhuman duration, brings an earthy dignity to old folk songs and contemporary folk-style compositions. Here are the first recordings of Salamat Sadikova to appear in the West. On 17 songs, she accompanies herself on komuz (three-stringed Kyrgyz lute). On two others, she is accompanied by the orchestra of the Kyrgyzstan's national folk music ensemble, Kambarkan. This 72-minute CD is augmented by an illustrated 16-page booklet with an artist biography and song translations.

   "Astonishing" was Grammy-winning roots music producer and historian Lawrence Cohn's initial one-word reaction to these recordings. "Salamat doesn't sound exactly like anyone I've heard, but she reminds me of some great ladies. I once had the opportunity to hear the legendary fadista, Amalia Rodrigues, perform in Paris. I also produced a reissue series of the complete recordings of [classic blues diva] Bessie Smith. All completely different singers, of course, but for power, soulfulness, and sensuality, this woman from Kyrgyzstan is a kindred spirit to them."

Click here to hear Salamat singing 'Ay nuru':
Or click on the direct link: _Ay Nuru_mp3

Ay nuru ('Moonlight' - traditional)

Moonlight falls upon us
My silver one, make my heart happy.
Let us value and cherish
The young life ahead of us!

Sunlight falls upon us
My golden one, make my heart happy.
Let us turn the young life
Ahead of us into flowers!

To order:

If you would like to order a single CD, please identify the title.

The price per CD is $15, shipping included in the U.S. (foreign orders please add $3). As a special incentive for you to hear both of the first two CD-length releases of Kyrgyz music in America, the two are currently available for $25, shipping included in the U.S. (foreign orders please add $4). As in Kyrgyzstan, Frequency Glide Enterprises has yet to evolve to the level of credit card culture.

Please make checks (for foreign orders, international money orders) payable to:

Mark A. Humphrey


Frequency Glide Enterprises
P.O. Box 72
Santa Monica, CA

Booking information for Salamat Sadikova:

North American booking representation: Folklore Productions
Folklore Productions website: http://www.folkloreproductions.com
tel (310) 451-0767
Fax (310) 458-6005
email: info@folkloreproductions.com