The Spirit of Tengri 2015

The Spirit of Tengri Festival, 6-7 June 2015, Almaty

In 2015 The Spirit of Tengri festival took place on June 6 and 7. It was the third edition of the largest open-air festival in Central Asia that takes place in Kazakhstan. 

Music bands from 11 countries performed on the stage in Almaty and gathering an audience of more than 10 thousand people. 

Estonian band Trad.Attack!, Hanggai from China, Tilla Torok & Hold Viola from Hungary, Tuvan throat singer and musician Radik Tyulyush, Turkish band Baba Zula, Argymak from Baskortostan, Georgian band The Shin, Chytys Tannagasheva from Mountain Shoriya (Russia) and Kazakhstani Aldaspan, Sharapat and Tigrahaud bands took part in The Spirit of Tengri 2015. 

The festival aims to unite and preserve the heritage of forefathers through music and make it understandable for the modern audience by enveloping traditions tunes into contemporary arrangements.

The two-day festival provided an excursion into the history and culture of Kazakhstan, Hungary, Estonia, Bashkortostan, Turkey, Georgia, Inner Mongolia, Mountain Shoriya and other regions.



  1. Aldaspan (Kazakhstan)
  2. Sharapat (Kazakhstan)
  3. Arkaiym (Kazakhstan)
  4. Hanggai (China)
  5. Edil Khussainov & folk-jazz band Satzhan Project (Kazakhstan)
  6. TRAD.ATTACK! (Kazakhstan)
  7. Nordic Namgar (Buryatiya | Norway)
  8. The-Shin (Georgia | Germany)
  9. Radik Tyulyush & Chalama (Tyva)
  10. Tilla Török’s Band & Holdviola (Hungary)
  11. BaBa Zula (Turkey)
  12. Chyltys Tannagasheva (Mountain Shoria)
  13. Argymak (Bashkortostan)
  14. Tigrahaud (Kazakhstan)


First Day

The concert started with a beautiful opening performance of throat singers accompanied by various national instruments.

Kazakhstani band Arkaiym deputed on the first day of the festival. The band performed throat singing accompanied by dombra and shankobyzAldaspan band joined Arkaiym on the stage adding electro-dobras. Two bands performed a number of original musical compositions - both dynamic and lyrical.

Arkaiym is the first Kazakhstani band that combines all contemporary music genres with ancient ethnic style. The members of the band are Abzal Arykbayev, a throat-singing instructor who plays multiple instruments and the first Kazakh female throat singer Anar Kassymova.

The Shin brought authentic Georgian ethnic jazz and rock-n-roll to Almaty. The band performed at The Spirit of Tengri in 2014 and came again in 2015. The performance of the Georgina band was truly energetic and most memorable thanks to the masterful guitar improvisations and Georgian dance.

The musicians define their genre as Iberia-Caucasian jazz. The Shin originated in 1998 in Germany, where musicians Zaza Miminoshvili, Zurab Gagnidze and Mamuka Gaganidze still live and work. The musicians became legendary in Georgia long ago having worked with the State Rustavelli Theatre and other major projects. In 1992 Miminoshvili was acknowledged as the best jazz acoustic guitar player in Georgia.

Argymak from Bashkortostan, too, participated in previous editions of The Spirit of Tengri. This year, the band brought a new program to Almaty. Argymak performed in their usual up beat style with elements of rock. The band led by Rinat Ramazanov played a Bashkir two string dumbyra and Kazakh kobyz adding African drums. This time, Argymak came to Almaty with a Russian folk singer Yekaterina Yamshikova.

Bashkir band Argymak are well known to Kazakhstanis. The musicians write original songs based on Bashkir epic legends. Young and talented artists from Argymag aside from playing kuray pipe and two stringed dumbyra, experiment with African drums, Latin American percussion drums, and electric and bass guitars.

For the Turkish band Baba Zula The Spirit of Tengri 2015 marked their second time in Kazakhstan. The band has a rich history going back to the early 1990s. Most of their musical pieces involve an ancient Persian instrument saz. Baba Zula brings dynamic, avant garde and at times psychedelic music rooting in traditional Turkish melodies and vocals.

Legendary throat singer from Tuva Radik Tyulyush performed near the end of the fight night. The Tuvan throat singer was highly anticipated by the festival’s audience. Tylyush came to Kazakhstan in 2014 for the first time. In 2015, the singer brought Chalma band with him. His throat singing was accompanied by ancient Tuvan stringed instruments igilebyzanchi and doshpuluur. The Tuvan songs performed by Tyulyush were composed by different nations living in different territories, including those of contemporary Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

The first day of The Spirit of Tengri 2015 ended with dynamic Mongolian ethnic rock performed by Hanggai. The Chinese based band performing Mongolian music blends the sound of guitars and ancient Mongolian bow instrument morinkhuur.

The name of the band comes from a Mongolian word that refers to beautiful images of meadows, mountains, full rivers and endless blue sky. The band was formed in 2004 to popularize Mongolian music and culture. The musicians blend the traditional Mongolian music with rock, European music and punk.


Second day

The second day of The Spirit of Tengri, a contemporary ethnic music festival in Kazakhstan's Almaty, began with a tribute to Kazakh singer Batyrkhan Shukenov. Festival participants sang Shukenov's Otan Ana (Motherland) song with a choir of Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatory. Estonian bagpiper Sandra Sillamaa and Hungarian duda bagpipe player Zsombor Toth led the act.  

Veterans of The Spirit of Tengri Aldaspan, a band from Kazakhstan, brought “hard rock dombra” and throat singing. Aldaspan turns traditional ethnic songs into ethnic rock ballads.

The third performers of the second day were a young Kazakhstani band Tigrakhaud from Kazakhstan's Ust-Kamenogorsk. The musicians experimented with Kazakh rock compositions blended with ethnic elements using an electro-dombra, flute and throat singing. The band was on stage wearing exotic costumes inspired by an ancient tribe of Tigrakhauda.

Throat singing from Mountain Shoriya met Kazakhstani electro at The Spirit of Tengri 2015 contemporary ethnic music festival in Almaty. Chyltys Tannagasheva, a singer from mysterious Mountain Shoriya, performed with Kazakh DJ Nariman Issenov.

Chyltys’ family has lived in Kurya village near Mrassu river for many years. Her great grandfather knew the taiga woods as the back of his hand and told stories about cedars speaking Shor language at night. Raised on tales and stories of her mysterious homeland, Chyltys led an ordinary life till the age of 24. Then her life was divided into “before” and “after” by a car accident. She experienced clinical death. After that Chyltys discovered a talent for throat singing.

Hungarian Tilla Torok and Holdviola performed in snow-white costumes symbolizing openness and purity. The Hungarian musicians presented a magical blend of a bagpipe and a violin. Holdviola bases its artistic work on the ancient culture of Magyar, a nomadic ethnic group that now calls Europe its home. The performance of the band became a symbolic bridge across centuries and thousands of kilometers from one Turkic nation from Central Asia to the other one living in Europe.

Young and ambitious band from Estonia Trad.Attack! energized the crow with a contemporary take on traditional Estonian folklore. Trad.Attack! is a new band from Estonia founded in 2014. The first album of the band has gained a wide recognition from both the general public and music critics. The band is gaining more and more fans in Baltic countries, Russia and other places around the world.The Estonian musicians were truly creative and entertaining establishing a bond with the audience. They performed quite unusual songs that presented different things - from noises Estonian women make while preparing butter to Estonians’ love for starts and sky. The band sang in Estonian and played national instruments such as parmupille and torupille, an Estonian version of a Jewish harp. Trad.Attack! also used records from archives in songs, thus, bringing old masters of folklore singing to the stage with them.

Folklore motives from Estonia were followed by a creative mix of ethnic throat singing and jazz performed by a Kazakh singer Yedil Khussainov & Satzhan Project. The ethnic musician is brining his well known works along with a number of new "jazzed" tunes. The musician played ancient instruments such as zhetygen (seven-stringed instrument), sybyzgy (sideblown flute), saz-syrnay, kamys-syrnaykaursyn-synay (wind instruments) and shan-kobyz. Yedil Khussainov is not only well known in Kazakhstan, but has a fan base abroad. In 2005, Khussainov performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, a year later, he had a concert in Tokyo.

Nordic Namgar brought a unique fusion of Buryat ethnic music blended with Norwegian jazz. The performance of Nordic Namgar presented the crowd with Namgar Lhasarovna’s beautiful singing accompanied by Buryat yataga stringed instrument enveloped in Scandinavian rhythms. Their songs full of lyricism and meditativeness are based on ancient parables and incantations.

Namgar much loved by Kazakhstanis performed with a Finnish singer Niillas Holmberg and a music band led by Norwegian jazz musician Ole Jørn Myklebust known for their work with famous Mari Boine Persen.

The musicians started collaborating at the Norweigian Sami Music Festival Riddu Riđđu in Summer 2013. The Nordic Namgar duo combines unique vocals of the Buryat singer Namgar and Scandinavian spirit. Songs performed by Nordic Namgar are based on ancient incantations and tales.

Hanggai from Inner Mongolia performed again on the second day of the two-day festival. The ethnic rock band sang old Mongolian songs in contemporary rock style. Hanggai promotes Mongolia and Mongolian culture abroad by performing traditional music with a mixture of rock and punk.

The Spirit of Tengri 2015 concluded with a well-known Kazakh national heart-warming song Akhau Kerim performed by Arkaiym, Sharapat, Aldaspan, Tigrakhaud and Kazakh National Choir directed by Yan Rudkovskiy.



Argymak - Bur baikamys
Bolot Bairyshev - Ak Burkhan
Aldaspan - Elge qayt
Chyltys - Aba chonym
Namgar - Yundengogo
Sharapat - Kok sholaq
Nordic Namgar - My Winters Day
Tigrahaud - Arlan-kazak
Gulzada - Kurmanbek
Radik Tyulyush - Er-le Changys


Voices of autumn (2014)
The Spirit of Tengri (2015)
The Spirit of Astana (2017)
NOMAD WAY 2018 | ASTANA | JUNE 22-24
Sainkho Namchylak with German Popov on Tengri FM (2014)
Presentation of DVD The Spirit of Tengri 2014
The Spirit of Tengri on Womex 2015 (Hungary)
The Spirit of Tengri (2014)
The Shin on Tengri FM (2014)
The Spirit of Tengri (2016)
The Spirit of Tengri (2017)
The Spirit of Tengri (2013)
BaBa Zula on Tengri FM (2015)
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