The art of akyns-improvisers ‘tokmo’
  • Manage No, Sortation, Country, Writer ,Date, Copyright
    Manage No EE00002301
    Country Kyrgyzstan
    ICH Domain Oral traditions and representations Performing Arts Social practices, rituals, festive events Traditional craft skills
    All regions of Kyrgyzstan
    Year of Designation 2008
Description The art of the ‘tokmo akyns’ is specific type of the Kyrgyz singing art. Unlike performers of other genres, ‘tokmo akyns’ must possess, first of all, a unique poetic talent and improvisation skills. Akyn singing is characterized by improvisation, folksy development of musical and poetic sentiments, intonation and rhythmic freedom and recitative manner of a performance. Simultaneous playing on komuz during performances of ‘tokmo akyns’ very often reproduces and interludes the akyn’s voice. Instrumental ritornello on komuz sounds at the beginning, between couplets, and at the end of a song. Because of the poetic talent and improvisation skills, tokmo akyns enjoy special status among the Kyrgyz people.
Social and cultural significance The work of akyns-improvisers is a unique part of the Kyrgyz national culture, which has been developing for centuries in the conditions of nomadic life. From time immemorial, akyns have educated people with the help of komuz and the power of words. Akyns are not just singers, they are historians, storytellers, and actors. During their performances akyns sing about all the events experienced by people of Kyrgyzstan, the pressing problems and their aspirations. They evaluate the people’s actions and historical facts. Akyns’ activity is the best indicator of respect for cultural heritage. It is a living and ageless art that contains a powerful intellectual force. Akyns-improvisers are extremely popular in the Kyrgyz society and have a high authority. Their work continues to retain its former relevance to this day.
Transmission method In Kyrgyzstan there are schools-studios where the bearers and practitioners transmit their knowledge and skills to young people by traditional method “from teachers to the followers”. The schools-studios transmit this oral art to young people (practical trainings, instructions, demonstrations) and also teach them to play Kyrgyz komuz. People’s love of song competitions and their high appreciation of akyns’ improvising talent inspire akyns to perfect their talents. Akyns are recognized by people only after they pass publicly the aitysh examinations. It is an excellent experience for akyns. Almost all akyns started their creative way by participating in such performances. Competitions of young performers with well-known akyns determine their further creative destiny; evaluation of their talent by listeners and the elder akyns confirms the akyn status of young performers. Texts of poetic improvisations by well-known akyns are included in school educational programs in order to transmit the element to young generations. Although there are fewer practitioners nowadays, master akyns continue to train young apprentices and are helped by recent revitalization initiatives supported by the Kyrgyz government. Poetic texts of the tokmo-akyns of the past years are kept in the Manuscript fund of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Community The community in Kyrgyzstan are tokmo-akyns. They are represented by the Public Foundation "Aitysh", Public Foundation "Manas Muras", Kyrgyz State Philharmonic named after T. Satylganov. Great contribution to preservation of the element is made also by representatives Art of Akyns researches organisations: Cultural Research Center "Aigine", Institutes of the National Academy of Science (Kyrgyzstan) and overall population of Kyrgyzstan as an audience. The most famous young akyns-improvisers ‘tokmo’of Kyrgyzstan: 1. Zhenishbek Zhumakadyr 2. Amantai Kutmanaliev 3. Elmirbek Imanaliev 4. Aaly Tutkachev 5. Azamat Bolgonbayev 6. Kubat Tukeshov 7. Idiris Aitbayev
Information source
National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO

Materials related to