The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev warmly congratulated the citizens of the country on the national holiday dedicated to the folk musical instrument, the popularity of which remains unchanged in the era of rock, electronic and rap music.
“Congratulations to all on National Dombra Day! – says the congratulations of the head of state. – This thousand-year-old musical instrument embodies the soul of our people, its traditions and culture. Uplifting the spirit and glory of the nation, dombra has become our priceless asset and national symbol. We will do our best to popularize dombra.”
National Dombra Day was established in Kazakhstan in 2018. Today, 650 music circles for playing dombra have been opened in the country, involving more than 26,000 children. Concerts by artists dedicated to playing the national musical instrument with a captivating psychedelic sound were held across the country.
“Kazakh and dombra are inseparable concepts”
In Astana, the youth wing of the Amanat party launched the Dombyra Party, which was attended by more than 4,000 artists from across the country. Concerts of folk instrument orchestras, exhibitions, competitions, sports competitions were held in the cities of Kazakhstan. So, in the Akmola region, more than 1000 actions were held in honor of the holiday. On the central square of the city of Kokshetau, the performance “Dombyra” rumbled, in which more than one and a half thousand professional dombra players, students of music schools and amateurs took part. In Taraz, a seven-meter model of a folk instrument was hoisted near the Taraz International Institute of Innovation hostel. And the Council of Mothers of the Kazakh People’s Assembly in the Zhambyl region prepared a musical and poetic congratulation to all Kazakhs.
“Mothers of different nationalities talked about the dombra, congratulated them on a wonderful holiday glorifying the original art of our people, which has deep historical roots,” said Elmira Myrza-Gali, President of the Council.
The president of the Dungan Republican Ethnocultural Center Sarah Dauzova noted that every year in the maternity hospitals of the Zhambyl region, on Dombra Day, this musical instrument is presented to a newborn baby.
Modern sociological studies show that the dombra is the favorite musical instrument of children and young people in Kazakhstan. This year, more than 6,000 first graders in Astana have chosen dombra lessons as a hobby.
From century to century, Kazakh minstrels – akyns – roamed the cities and villages of the Great Steppe, performing works called “kui”.
“Kazakh and dombra are inseparable concepts. There is no Kazakh who would not be inspired by the sounds of the dombra, and the melody of this instrument sounds everywhere our compatriots live. Our people conveyed their joys and sorrows, dreams and hopes through the kyui. The sacred dombra has always been passed down from generation to generation. Kazakhs consider this musical instrument a talisman that captures the chronicle of centuries. In modern terms, this is our national brand,” President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on the eve of Dombra Day in 2021, noting that kui art was included in UNESCO’s cultural heritage list.
Also, in 2010, the dombra was listed in the Guinness Book of Records after an orchestra of 10,450 dombra players performed the Kazakh kyui “Kenes” (“Council”) in China.
“Dombra Unites All”
Dombra is popular not only in Kazakhstan. In Russia’s Astrakhan region, with a Kazakh diaspora of more than 150,000 people, an instrument that belonged to Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly, a 19th-century composer and dombra player who had a major influence on the development of musical culture, is carefully preserved. kazakh. . The relic is exhibited in the memorial complex in the village of Altynzhar, and a monument to the outstanding musician was erected in the center of Astrakhan.
According to the Honored Artist of Kazakhstan, laureate of the state prize, professor of the National Conservatory of Kazakhstan Aigul Ulkenbayeva, every year Dombra Day in Kazakhstan is celebrated on an ever-increasing scale. In all regions of Kazakhstan, people with instruments go out into the streets, meet and play with orchestras, and some of them spontaneously.
“Yesterday we gave a big concert in Astana, there was an international number: a Kazakh, an Azerbaijani, a Turk, an Armenian and a Russian played. Even in China, Kazakhs gather to celebrate this holiday. Dombra unites everyone”, says the musician.
Aigul Ulkenbayeva stresses the great importance of the order of the President of Kazakhstan to open dombra playing circles in all the country’s secondary schools: state-subsidized private studios, where children study for free.
“Folk music and national traditional art are very well received everywhere. Not only music, but also national costumes, jewelry – all this together makes a great impression, says the Honored Artist of Kazakhstan. – In September 2022, a large concert dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Roza Baglanova (opera and pop singer, People’s Artist of the USSR – Ed.) was held at the Moscow International House of Music. It was a great joy for us to present ourselves at the Casa de la Música in a concert dedicated to her anniversary. Then I brought to Moscow an instrumental work – kui by Tolegen Mombekov “Saltanat”, accompanied by a piano”.
Ulkenbaeva recalled that within the framework of last year’s Days of Kazakh Culture in Russia, the concerts of the musical group she leads were held not only in Moscow, but also in Astrakhan and Kazan.
“There we presented folk music, live TV broadcasts, and broadcasts were arranged. We had very pleasant and warm impressions. We, as artists, have not communicated so creatively for a long time, we did not leave because of the covid epidemic, so for us it was a real creative breakthrough, Aigul Ulkenbayeva shares her impressions. – Also, we see that with our creativity and energy we charge the public, and they charge us. When you are greeted and ushered in with a standing ovation, it just inspires! Dombra is the soul. Dombra is history. Dombra is everything to a Kazakh. This is not just a musical instrument, but the spiritual component of the nation.”