Thursday, April 8, 2010

A look at Kyrgyz Popular Music

Up until now, the Kyrgyz Republic has been out of sight and out of mind. It is not a mini North Korea like Turkmenia with a personality cult. Although it has Uzbek and Russian minorities, it does not whip up ethnic hatred for them. But democracy has not come easily. Corruption has stunted the growth of democracy and taxed the patience of the 5.5 million people in this landlocked mountainous nation near China.

Although about 68% of its population is Muslim, the roots of Islam don't run so deep. A look at Kyrgyz music videos does not feature women wrapped in burlap burkas. The language is clearly of the Turkic family.

I checked out a music video of Mirbek Atabekov, a popular Kyrgyz singer. His music truly showcases the beauty of the Kyrgyz language. I wish such music would make the American top 40.

I also watched a video of a female vocalist named Kanykei, which I was able to gather is a Kyrgyz female first name that is not uncommon. she and her backup band are dressed in western attire. The song is titled in Kyrgyz using a Cyrillic based alphabet. She has a voice that belongs on prime time. Both she and Mirbek Atabekov are textbook illustrations of the vast beautiful world of music that Americans never think about.

As we hope and pray for peace in Kyrgyzia, we should check out the music as well.

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