The Music of China's Nomads


A
kyns are virtuoso performers: they are Kazakh poets and bards of improvisation. The Akyn improvises with lyrics while playing the dömbra to a set traditional rhythm. The Akyn must not only be a master dömbra player, but also an expert story-teller, with a good wit and a great sense of timing. Akyn competitions are exciting and humorous, full of theatre and soul. They bring life to a party, helping to strengthen the sense of community among villagers.

In Qiaolatekerike, the village’s young dömbra players join with master Akyns for a competition. The festivities are punctuated by yelps of delight and laughter from the crowd members and competitors alike. This is a truly rare occasion, as a talented 13-year-old named Aisha makes her public debut.




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