The Manaschis of Kyrgyzstan: The Relic of Cultural Tradition

Thursday, April 22, 2010
1510 International Affairs Building

Please join the Harriman Institute for a talk by Daniel Turcan and Andrew Sherman.

Mr. Turcan and Mr. Sherman examine the role of the Manaschi (folk singers) in Kyrgyz culture, both past and present. Manaschis, who recite the Kyrgyz epic poem, Manas, used to be central figures of society in Kyrgyzstan. The poem, traditionally passed down orally, became a written record during the Soviet Union and reconciled spirituality within the context of Islamic influence. Manaschis continue this legacy of oral storytelling in today's modern society. Mr. Turcan and Mr. Sherman are currently finishing a documentary on the Manaschis of Kyrgyzstan; their lecture will include footage from the film and first-hand impressions of Manaschis in contemporary Kyrgyzstan.

Discussant: Dr. Jyldyz Urmanbetova, Fulbright Scholar.

Introduction by Rafis Abazov, author of The Culture and Customs of the Central Asian Republics.

For further info and questions, please contact Rafis Abazov at