Kyrgyz Manas Workshop

Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Room 1219 International Affairs Building

Workshop Participants:

Dr. Helen Faller, Anthropologist

Rysbai Isakov, Epic Singer

Akylbek Kasabolotov, Musician

The workshop will open with the musicians playing improvisationally on traditional Kyrgyz instruments. Kyrgyz instruments used in this session are the sybyzgy (traverse or side-blown wooden flute), the chor (end blown flute made from reed or wood), the chopo chor (a clay flute), temir oz komuz (iron mouth harp) and jigach oz komuz (wooden mouth harp).

A trilogy said to be over a thousand years old, Manas contains over a half a million lines and is considered the longest recorded epic in the world. It focuses on the lives – from miraculous birth to glorious death – of three generations of ancient heroes: Manas, his son Semetey, and Semetey’s son Seytek. Episodes of Manas colorfully depict the valiant exploits of these and other brave warriors – their magnificent feasts, weddings, and of course countless glorious raging battles.

Dr. Faller will provide the audience with background on the Manas. Background topics will include a brief history of the Manas; a description of the traditional settings in which it is recited; a synopsis of the episode the audience is about to hear; and teaching the audience some key gestures and recurring words used in reciting the Manas.