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Kyrgyz folklore ensembles


Kyrgyz folk music has developed over the centuries and oral traditions are still strong and reflect practically all aspects of nomadic life are, historical events and the relationships of the Kyrgyz with the natural environment which surrounded them.  Modern folklore collectives or ensembles, draw on such rich material, and have great potential for creative development.  In this section we give some brief information on some of these ensembles.

1. “Kambarkan” Folklore-ethnological ensemble
The “Kambarkan” folklore ensemble was established in 1988.  The group comprises professional musicians who are united by their love of national instruments and Kyrgyz national music.
“Kambarkan” has a unique collective and features some of the most ancient musical instruments, including: komuz, kyl kiyak, temir komuz, kernei, surnai, sybyzgy, dobulbas, zuuldak, asa-tayak, choor and, chopo choor.  The repertoire of the ensemble includes works by outstanding national composers such as: Toktogul, Niyazaly, Ata9i, Ybrai and Karamoldo, as well as Djumabaev, Djumakunov and Abdrachmanov. In addition, the ensemble perform arrangements and transpositions of traditional melodies, folk tunes, fragments from the epic poem “Manas”, ceremonial and dances.

The creative team expands the repertoire by combining national traditions with modernity.  “Kambarkan” has won a number of international folklore festivals, such as in Almaty (1988) and in Baku, Azerbaijan, (1990), and has three times represented Kyrgyz art in Turkey, (1991, 1992 and 1994).  They have also performed in England, France and the USA.  In 1993-1995 musicians of ensemble took part in the Week of Kyrgyzstan in Germany (in Bonn and Cologne).  In 1995 they were invited for a 45 day tour of Japan by the organizers, “Min-On”, of the International Folklore Festival which was devoted to the Great Silk Road, and they received a second invitation for two and half months. 

The ensemble is proud of its soloists: the National Actress of the Kyrgyz Republic and Deserved Actress of the Republic of Kazakhstan Salamat Sadikovou, and the Honoured Artist of the Kyrgyz Republic Nurakom Abdyrachmanov; B. Shakirov; A. Kumenov; A. Sharshebaev; S. Adrakaev; S. Rysaliev; D. Kangeldiev; T. Karabaev; S. Kendiraev and the Honoured Worker of Culture Rysbek Djumakunov, who has composed many original works, and arrangements of traditional melodies. The ensembles Artistic Director, National Actor of the Kyrgyz Republic and winner of the State Toktogul Award, Esengul Djumabaev is a composer of many popular works.  

Today the “Kambarkan” ensemble is one of the most popular groups in the republic, constantly searching out pieces, creatively reinterpreting folklore.  

2. “Jetigen” children’s ensemble

“Jetigen” is a performing ensemble from Children's Musical School No 7 in Bishkek which was opened in 1969, the only one in the southern micro-regions – the biggest housing estate in the city.

The school’s pupils number more than 250 children. They are trained on many musical instruments, such as: piano, bayan (a kind of accordion), accordion, violin, komuz, Tekir komuz (or iron komuz – like a “Jew’s Harp”), chopo choor, guitar, trumpet and a variety of percussion instruments. Besides the solo performers there are a number of ensembles: two choruses, ensembles of komuzists, violinists, bayanists, iron komuzists and a folk ensemble.

The talented and hard working staff of the school is led by its experienced director, Ayzada Mamataipova, who is a member of the Management Council of the Mayoralty of Culture and is a representative on the Bishkek Council of Directors of Children’s Musical and Creative Schools. More than 500 students have graduated from the school since it was opened. Most of them have chosen music as a major and continued their studies at higher musical academic institutions. Students and teachers give numerous concerts and lecture-concerts at the Philharmonic Society.

The musicians of the children's ensemble, "Jetigen", use traditional instruments in their performances. The age of ensemble members varies from 12 to 17 years old. Their performing skill is of a high, professional and virtuoso standard. In performing complicated “two-voice works”, the musicians of the ensemble can match the performances of other, more experienced, ensembles. They have taken part in city and republican competitions such as "Young Talents" (in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000); at the festival Osh – 3000; at competitions of the "Meerim" foundation; competitions to mark the anniversary of Atai Ogonbaev, (where they received a diploma and prize for virtuousness); and they have been awarded an honorary deed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. In 2003 the group issued a CD containing some 23 items of instrumental music.

If you would like, we could arrange a performance by the group as part of your stay in Bishkek (our contacts are listed in “About Us” section).