On March 9, I was lucky enough to catch the last performance of the Osh Philarmonia’s special International Women’s Day concert, which featured traditional Kyrgyz songs accompanied by accordions. When I was living in Kyrgyzstan in 1999-2000 studying Kyrgyz folk music, my research focused on traditional, pre-Soviet era, instruments. I was largely unaware of the аккордеон ырлар (accordion song) genre.
The concert featured six men and one woman on accordion, most of them singing while playing. Additionally, there were three singers who rocked the stage with ear-splitting electronic accompaniment over the loud speakers. One of the singers was National Artist of Kyrgyzstan, Salamat Sydykova, whose voice and komuz performances I recorded on a portable 4-track during my first year in Bishkek.
Below is a video I took during the show that features Altynai Narbaeva and Janybek Batybekov. Altynai, which translates to Golden Moon, is a well known star of this type of music. Janybek, while not as popular, certainly has his chops. If I had a better connection, I would upload more performances, but for now, this will have to suffice.