Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Folk + Pop = Urker

URKER is a Kazakh pop folk group that first appeared on the scene in Kazakhstan in 1993, with its debut performance at one of the Almaty Rock Clubs. Their most recent album, Made in Kazakhstan, was released in 2002.

Many of the group's songs, written by band members Aidos Sagat and Nurlan Alban, take their flavor from the patriotic epic poetry of Kazakhstan. These songs take the themes of love or nostalgia for the homeland, and the legends of the batyrs who defend it, and combine it all with traditional (and traditional-sounding) melodies, and Kazakh as well as modern instruments.

This music video, Arular, incorporates several symbols of Kazakh tradition -- look for Nurlan on the dombra, and listen for the qobyz toward the end (sort of like cello, but hollower). These are two of the best known traditional Kazakh musical instruments. The traditional Kazakh skull cap is called a takiya, or tubeteika. The headwear of the women in the chorus is called a kimeshek.

For a selection of Kazakh and Uzbek tubeitiki, browse the Silk Road Caravan store at eBay.

To hear more of Urker’s music, go to the official Urker website in Russian and English (if it doesn’t work try again. It’s unpredictably up and down.)

See more Urker videos on YouTube.

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