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Sounds of Kyrgyzstan

October 1, 2010

In addition to studying eagle hunting, I’m also doing a research project here on Kyrgyz folk music. It wasn’t in my Fulbright proposal, but I just like the music so much that I thought it would be a good excuse to meet some local musicians and see some impressive komuz playing. I bought a digital sound recorder with the money I made working at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk this summer, and I hope to record some music whenever I get more free time. Meanwhile, I’ve been recording little things here and there, and I thought you might like to hear them and get an idea of what my new home sounds like. (Note: I haven’t found a way yet to stream the music files – you’ll have to download them if you want to listen. Note number 2: Some people said they had problems getting the songs – just right click and save as!)

The Star Called Sun

This first clip is one of my favorites. I was sitting in the living room with Danil and Marina, and Danil was showing me some Russian tunes he knows on guitar. He starts playing a catchy little song, which I later find out is Звезда по имени Солнце (The Star Called Sun) by Viktor Tsoi (kind of like the Soviet version of Kurt Cobain, but half Korean and not as whiny). Marina knows the words and joins in on backup vocals. She has a beautiful voice and the song, like all Russian tunes it seems, is quite poignant.

Commies on Parade

One day I came home from school and our neighborhood’s courtyard was full of communists. I tried not to panic. In between breathless rants on the evils of capitalism, they took turns singing uplifting hymns from the golden days. I was trying to take a nap upstairs and, while I appreciated their enthusiasm, frankly wanted them to can it.




A Game in Toktogul Park

This one’s a little quiet. I was walking around town when I came across a little park, full of cuddling couples on benches and pensioners wiling away their afternoon. There was a group of schoolkids playing games in the grass. I was in a bad mood so I thought I’d investigate the curative properties of children’s laughter and headed over to see what they were up to. They seemed to be playing “Red Rover”, but instead of sending Billy right over they sent Baktyrek. They were having a lot of fun and I felt a lot better. The next day, though, I got smallpox. The moral of the story: Children’s joy is an evil ploy, so stay away and steal their toys. You should probably write that down.

Learning Chinese

This last one isn’t from my time in Kyrgyzstan, but is too hilarious to pass up. When I was in Beijing, I met this woman at a dumpling restaurant who insisted on giving me a personal tour of the town. She spoke no English, but that didn’t stop her from having long, enlightening conversations with me in Chinese. Every once in a while I’d repeat after her, she would nod, and keep going. This is me trying to master a three-syllable phrase. Chinese is absurd. She seems to understand.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2010 2:46 pm

    I can’t seem to figure out how to listen to them…I just get redirected to the general FileDen page

  2. Katy permalink
    October 1, 2010 4:38 pm

    Smallpox what?


  1. Keen on Kyrgyzstan, In Review « Keen on Kyrgyzstan

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