Nohon Shumarov – Altai

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Uploaded on Sep 20, 2008
Album 2000 – Altai Maktal – Nohon and friends

The Turkish peoples in Altai were hunters and nomadic shepherds tending sheep, horses and sometimes camels. The bequeathed an extremely interesting culture to their descendants, the basic features of which have been handed down from the early beginnings all the way to the present day.
One of the most important forms of Altai art, apart from painting and poetry, is the narration of epics in the falsetto voice to the accompaniment of the topshur, a lute-like string instrument. Texts are usually enunciated in the low bass register.
These narratives enjoyed great popularity amongst the people of the steppes. One of the legendary narrators, Deley, knew 77 of them by heart and the longest took seven days and nights. Altai has produced a number of masters of this art, such as N. Ulagashev and P. Kutshiyak and today the tradition is still kept alive by such people as †Aleksey Kalkin, S. Aetenov, Shunu Yalatov, Tovar Tchetsiyakov and †Tanishpai Shinshin.
They preserve a traditional heritage of popular literature and sing of their secret dreams and expectations. These epics contain the aesthetic ideas of this nation in its truest form of expression and tell of the everyday world and the world of spirits and myths. Most of them are pentatonic and melismatics play an important role in the development of the melodies. There are songs of congratulations, for each of the seasons, lullabies, songs for all sorts of animals and even insects, songs of travel, modern philosophical songs, ballads, and improvisations. Many are a kind of oral philosophy and, at the same time, textbooks designed to guide mankind to a higher level of consciousness.

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