Thursday, March 20, 2008

Nauryz 2008!

After 70+ years of Russian/Soviet holidays, Nauryz has taken hold as a big event in Kazakhstan, and in the international Kazakh/Kazakhstani communities. This poster, for the Embassy of Kazakhstan's Nauryz 2008 celebration in Washington, D.C., certainly is gorgeous. Nauryz, a spring festival with pre-Islamic roots, is also celebrated under varying names across Islamic Asia from Turkey to Kyrgystan.

Tonight in Moscow (it's probably over now, in fact), a beauty pageant/Nauryz celebration was held to select the most beautiful of all Kazakhstani students in Russia. The winner of "Moscow Spring - 2008" will be a contestant in the national "Miss Kazakhstan" pageant later on. Between competition rounds, the audience was treated to performances by no less than A-Studio, Musicola, Asylbek Ensepov and the legendary Dos Mukasan, and other stars of the KZ music scene.

Also from, folk-pop band Urker will give their first full-length concert in 5 years for the Nauryz 2008 celebration on Saturday night (7 pm) in Old Almaty Square. Fittingly, they'll rock the crowd with their holiday anthem Nauryz, under a massive fireworks display.

I think the Nauryz party in London has already happened, but the big event in the US is a multi-city tour by "the unique neo-traditional avant-garde band from Kazakhstan," Roksonaki, culminating in the Washington, D.C. gala on April 5. Roksonaki made a big splash at the Smithsonian Institution's 2002 "Silk Road" Folklife Festival, with Yo-Yo Ma. Though the group was formed in 1990, there's next to no additional information about them until now, aided by a group member and Central Asian scholar, Dr. Helen Faller, who coordinated the tour. Roksonaki's music is fascinating and exactly as billed -- experimental, scholarly, with contemporary influences, traditional instruments and more. Is there such a thing as Central Asian space music? Check out the Roksonaki blogs (, and Nauryz with Roksonaki), and even a MySpace page, which has several music samples. And if you're anywhere near Washington, D.C. in a couple of weekends, there's a party going on that you really shouldn't miss.

A sample Roksonaki track, from the site:


Gulnara said...

Hey, this is personal! I don't celebrate anything except my children's birthdays and the NEW YEAR.
And you, guys, living in the US and celebrating Nauryz? Funny!

mashenka said...

Hi Nyura and Gulnara,

I was referred to your blog by a friend - I love all the information, and I'm so glad that you're interested in my research! Maybe we should chat sometime?
All the best, and hope you had a Happy Nauryz!

:) Megan

Nyura said...

I'm glad you found our site useful - I have enjoyed your discussions of culture and music on your blog, and am still in awe that you're taking lessons from the rock star of the qobyz! Would love to write -- I'm at

kazkaz said...

I lost your comment on my blog about Musicola due to some blogger problems. Could you send it again?, I would like to link your page on that comment.
To read you is always fascinating, not probaly, sure! the best blog about Kaz. You are so informed, tahnks for sharing!You´ve got a good spanish..Gloria

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