Kazakh traditional art of Dombra Kuy


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Inscribed in 2014 (9.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© 2013 by A. Suleyev

The art of DombraKuy refers to a short solo composition performed on a traditional pear-shaped, long-necked, two-stringed, plucked musical instrument known as a dombra. The music aims to connect people to their historic roots and traditions through classical and improvised pieces that engage the audience at a spiritual and emotional level. Public engagement in the performance serves as one of the most important means of social communication between people and contributes to the transfer of knowledge and skills related to Kazakh culture. The music is usually accompanied by narrated stories and legends. It is traditionally performed at social gatherings, holidays and festive celebrations, amid a rich variety of food and musical entertainment. It serves as a vital social and cultural experience, strengthening people’s identity and promoting solidarity and mutual understanding in society. Aspiring and talented musicians are apprenticed to masters from the moment a child demonstrates an interest in the philosophy and virtuosity of traditional music and performance. Amateur musicians then apprentice themselves to other more experienced and talented performers from their region to increase their skills and repertoire.