Academic journal article Yearbook for Traditional Music

Kazakhstan. le Kobyz: L'ancienne Viole Des Chamans / the Kobyz: The Ancient Viol of the Shamans

Academic journal article Yearbook for Traditional Music

Kazakhstan. le Kobyz: L'ancienne Viole Des Chamans / the Kobyz: The Ancient Viol of the Shamans

Article excerpt

Kazakhstan. Le Kobyz: L'ancienne viole des chamans / The Kobyz: The Ancient Viol of the Shamans. 2004. INEDIT / Maison des Cultures du Monde W 260115. Performed by Smagul Umbetbaev and Saían Aqmolda. Recorded by Alim K. Baïgarin and Aliaskar Dastenov. Annotated by Saida Elemanova, Frédéric Léotar, and Xavier Hallez. 27 pp. of notes in French and English. English translation by Frank Kane. 1 colour, 7 b/w photographs. 1 compact disc, 17 tracks (54:46). Recorded at the Kazakh Film Studio, Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2003.

This CD represents one of the very few internationally released recordings of the Kazakh qyl-qobyz, a vertical bowed fiddle with two horsehair strings. The album features Smagul Umbetbaev and his former student, Saïan Aqmolda, both very accomplished qyl-qobyzshilar (qyl-qobyz performers) in Kazakhstan and propagators of the qyl-qobyz among American and European audiences. Their performances are reliably solid and the recording quality is consistently clear.

Historically, the qyl-qobyz has been central to several traditions in Kazakhstan, including the performance of epic poetry and shamanic rituals. Since the nineteenth century, the main instrumental genre for qyl-qobyz performance has been the küi ("mood" or "frame of mind")-a short, programmatic, and semi-improvisatory tone poem written for a solo instrument. The most renowned composer of küi for the qyl-qobyz was Ykhlas Dukenuly (1843-1916), whose works aided the instrument's transition from the realm of exclusively ritual use to that of musical performance. …

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