The Magic of Nomads is a Kazakhstani band which performs national and traditional Kazakh music with modern jazz arrangements. The band consists of several talented musicians whose passion for their work makes their inimitable sounds exemplary of the very best in ethnic music.

They recorded their first album, Bulbul Zaman, in the famous Abbey Road studio in London, the first time that Kazakh musicians had recorded there.

Instruments:

The zhetygen is a stringed instrument re-introduced in the 20th Century, made using the methods of ancient craftsmen. It has seven strings which pass over the vertebrae of sheep. In appearance it is similar to the Russian instrument the gusli, or perhaps a harp on its side. In the past, people used to play thezhetygen before a hunt believing it to bring good luck.

The sybyzgy is an ancient wind instrument also made of clay. It’s a hollow reed with three to five holes. Those who play it defy its ostensible simplicity, and a virtuoso performance will include elements of throat singing. The similar kamys syrnay is a wind instrument made of reed.

The sazsyrnay is an instrument made of clay. It was discovered in Otrar, one of the ancient Kazakh cities. It is made of a very light material and is very popular among the young.

The kylkobyz is the grandfather of all stringed-bow instruments. Since ancient times, it has been considered a magical and sacred instrument, and it was used by shamans, fortune-tellers and in the recital of the epic tales of old. Its strings and bowstrings are made of the hair of a horse’s tail, which gives it a most unusual sound. The prima kobyz is a modern type of kylkobyz.

The dombra is a very popular instrument among Kazakhs. It is made of wood and has two strings. There may be slight variations on the traditional design from one region to another, but it remains to this day an icon of the country and a fundamental part of Kazakh culture. It features heavily in traditional contests between professional singers andkuishi (dombra performers). The traditional music of the dombra, the kui, is held to be the pinnacle of artistic expression in Kazakh music, and kui performed by top dombraists are said to express the spirit and soul of the Kazakhs.

THE MAGIC OF NOMADS