This rather complete, multi-supports compilation introduces the musical culture of Karakalpakistan. The author of the recording, musical anthropologist Frédéric Léotar, introduces the music practiced by three different categories of bards: the jyraw (who performs heroic epics and fantastic tales), the bakhsy (the specialist of romantic epics), and the qyssakhan (who performs lyrical poetry a cappella). Popular music devoted to rituals of everyday life (lullaby, song for the bride, etc.) is also presented. The second part of the CD (the nine last pieces) offers a range of instrumental solos played on various instruments of Karakalpak musical culture. In liner notes, F. Leotar and Kh. Qurbanov comment each melody and give musicological further pieces of information. A PDF-format file on the CD includes the transcription and translation in French and English of the whole songs. The DVD contains five of the CD recording sessions, involving a lullaby sung “in context,” and another recording of a sybyzgy clarinet, in order to emphasise the complex rhythmical issue. The selected performers are mostly young, a choice that F. Leotar takes as a demonstration of the vivacity of tradition. So this disc not only conveys the richness of Karakalpak musical culture, but also an extensive monographic study on it.

Ariane Zevaco, School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris
CER: II-6.4.G-542