Collections: Ghilyana Dordzhieva - The EVIA Digital Archive Project

Song and Instrumental Genres of Southern Altai Turkic Peoples in Russia and Mongolia (2002-2003)

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Torbat Suren. Achit ghazr, Uvs aimag, Mongholia, 2002. Image © Gilyana Dorjieva.

The video collection focuses on the music traditions of the Southern Altai. This unique high-mountain region is reputed as a conservation area of the significant Scythian and Hun archeological monuments. Up to the present time, the Turkic and Mongolian speaking peoples living in this region continue nomadic stock-breeding. Also, there are common traits in housing and food, as well as similarities in seasonal holidays and the details of women's dress. Despite the later infused Buddhism and Christianity, the early beliefs associated with worshipping the Altai mountain, local spirits, reverence for fire, offerings to hunting patrons, and the shamanism ideology still exist. The main culture groups in this video collection are Altai-Kizhis, Chelkans, Telengits, Derbets, Torguts, Alta-Uryanghais, Myangads, Zakhchins, and Öölds. These recordings were made in the Kosh-Agach district of the Altai Republic in Russian Federation and in the Hovd, Uvs and Bayan-Öölgii aimaks of Mongolia in August 2002 and July 2003.

The majority of the music genres in these cultures are similar. The milk songs and invocations, throat-singing and the related open flute shoor/tsuur performing, plucking and bowing instruments such as ikili, topshuur, morin-huur, aman-huur, jatha, and huuchir were found to be in common. The epic tradition is still active in Western Mongolia. But, in terms of the Mongolian and Turkic ritual songs there are essential distinctions because of different rhythmic principles and models.

The project is concentrated on the folk songs in context of traditional lifestyle. This focus is related to the author's other major research of the long-songs of Kalmyks, the only Mongolian language people settled in Europe. Included in this collection are performances that were not rehearsed, but were performed in usual surroundings. In addition, there are several fragments of the traditional wedding ceremony of the Telengits.

The records included here represent roughly 80% of the Southern Altai video footage. Supplementary materials for the collection include audio-records, photos, and field notes.

This collection is currently in production and is not yet available to the public.

Image © Gilyana Dorjieva

Ghilyana Dordzhieva received her Master's degree in Ethnomusicology and Earned Doctorate (PhD) in Art Criticism in 2000 from Saint Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. In 2000-2006 she was a faculty at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and St. Petersburg University for Culture and Arts teaching folklore and music of minorities in Russia. In 2002-2006 she also worked as a Senior Researcher at the State Folklore and Ethnographical Centre.

She has broad experience of field work in Kalmyk Republic (1991-1999, 2002), Gorno-Altai Republic (2002), Southern Karelia (2004), Pskov, Novgorod, Vologda, Tver, Leningrad, Smolensk, Ulyanovsk districts of Russia (1988-2005), Xinjiang-Uighur district of China (1992), Bayan-Ölgii aimak, Uvs aimak of Mongolia (2002), Hovd aimak of Mongolia (2003).

Gilyana Dordzhieva concentrated on research into folk music of Mongolian languages peoples. She is the author of articles on the music of Kalmyks and CD Tsahan: Masterpieces of Kalmyk tradition music.

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