The Spirit of Tengri 2014

The Spirit of Tengri Festival, 7 June 2014, Almaty

In 2014 The Spirit of Tengri contemporary ethnic music festival took place on June 7. The free open-air event showcased a mixture of traditional music and contemporary approach.

The festival was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan for the second time and gathered musicians who pay homage to ethnic sound and puts a contemporary twist on it.

All in all, the festival brought together 13 bands and gathered 8000 people.

Kazakhstani bands Roksonaki, Aldaspan, Sharapat, Turkish band Baba Zula, Georgian virtuoso band The Shin, Yaric-Ecuador, Bashkir band Argymak, Buryat duet Namgar, a Kyrgyz singer Gulzada, an Atlai singer Bolot Bairyshev with Belukha Jam band, Radik Tyulyush, Chyltys from Mountain Shoriya and one of a kind Sainkho performed at the festival.



  1. Aldaspan (Kazakhstan)
  2. Sharapat (Kazakhstan)
  3. The Shin (Georgia | Germany)
  4. Radik Tyulyush & Chalama (Tyva)
  5. BaBa Zula (Turkey)
  6. Chyltys Tannagasheva (Mountain Shoria)
  7. Argymak (Bashkortostan)
  8. Gulzada (Kyrgyzstan)
  9. Bolot Bairyshev & Beluha Jam (Altai)
  10. Namgar (Buryatiya)
  11. Rocksonaki (Kazakhstan)


Master of Tuvan throat singing Radik Tyulyush performed in Almaty at The Spirit of Tengri. The ethnic music extraordinaire brought his Chalama project to the festival.

Throat singing is a unique art. A singer can produce one or more pitches simultaneously over a fundamental pitch. The singer creates an illusion of two people singing instead of one. Throat singers say that their singing is an imitation of sounds of nature that they put into an artistic form. Tyulyush has been practicing throat singing for many years. He believes that everyone can learn this art if they practice long enough.

As a boy, Tyulyush spent his summer holidays with his grandmother in a distant village and that was where he learned singing and playing Tuvan musical instruments. 

Tyulyush plays multiple instruments and is participating in several music projects at the same time. They include world-renowned Tuvan Huun-Huur-Tu band and Yat-Kha band.

Famous Kazakhstani ethnic rock band Aldaspan presented their new album at The Spirit of Tengri 2014

The band uses a combination of three electric dombras (Kazakh two-stringed lute-like instrument) and one bass dombra. The musicians invented and designed the contemporary version of the instruments themselves.

Aldaspan was the first and only band in the world that played electric dombras (rhythm, solo and bass) instead of guitars. Nurzhan Toishy, the band’s frontman authored the idea of creating the contemporary version of the Kazakh national instrument.. He initially came up with it at the age of 15, but it was impossible to make the instruments back then. So he came back to his idea in 2009, and in 2010, with some help from acoustic dombra makers of Almaty he made his first electric dombra, but it was not good enough to be placed in a concert. So he went to Moscow and ordered the making of this instrument there. He got a solo dombra, a rhythm dombra and a bass dombra from Moscow in February 2011. He gathered the band in April 2011 and in May 2011 they released their first English-language album Attila.

Turkish band BaBa Zula performed at the 2nd edition of The Spirit of Tengri music festival.

BaBa Zula is an alternative band from Istanbul that creates a unique blend of psychedelic rock. The band writes their material based on ethnic music. BaBa Zula gained its international recognition in 2005 after a documentary Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul by Fatih Akin that presented contemporary music scene of Istanbul.

The musicians play traditional instrument with reggae, electronic and dub twist. A Persian string instrument saz is at the heart of BaBa Zula music.

Yarick-Ecuador, a lively and exotic band from Ecuador participated in The Spirit of Tengri festival of contemporary ethnic music in 2014.

It was the first time the native American ethnic band performed in Kazakhstan. The musicians strive to revive ancient and almost forgotten music of South American natives. The street musicians formed the band in 2003. They wanted to delve in the forgotten music and that is where they got the name from – Yarik is translated from Kechua language as “memory”. Harmonious and passionate melodies of Yarick-Ecuador took the festival’s audience to the festive and hot Latin American land.

The Shin band brought the sounds and proud beauty of Georgia to Kazakhstan. The Georgian fusion jazz band combines jazz with Georgian folk melodies. The trio consists of Zaza Miminoshvili (guitars, panduri), Zurab J. Gagnidze (bass, vocals) and Mamuka Gaganidze (vocals, percussion).

“You can clearly trace their love of Georgia through their music. Despite the fact that they tour the world all the time, they represent Georgian ethnos and perform in this genre with such a love. It does not matter if they are in Germany or Georgia. They give a sense of always being at home. It is an acoustic band so they use only acoustic instruments without any electric instruments. It reminds of Georgian village music. It is worth coming to see them perform just to feel the spirit of Georgia,” a music scholar Iren Aravina said The Shin.

The Shin was formed in Germany in 1998. The name of the band "Shin" literally means "home" or "going home" in the Georgian language. The band represented Georgia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2014.

Gulzada from Kyrgyzstan is an advocate of ancient Kyrgyz folk music traditions who is working to make them comprehensible and attractive for the contemporary audience. She experiments with folk instruments merging their ancient sounds with electronic music and enflaming them with unique vocal techniques.

Sharapat another Kazakh band that uses electric versions of traditional instruments – played at The Spirit of Tengri festival in 2014.

The freshly created band consisted of a drummer, a bass dombra player, a lead dombra player and the singer who also played jetigen.

It is a Kazakh many-stringed harp-like instrument that is similar to Russian gusli. Traditionally it had seven strings, but as time when by their number has grown to 23. Eventually an contemporary version of the instrument appeared. It took 12 people, 4 month and spare parts from different counties to assemble the first ever electric jetigen in Moscow.

Electric jetigen was created by the same person who came up with electric versions of Kazakh dombras – Nurzhan Toishy. The contemporary take on the instrument gave it something its traditional predecessor lacked - its long-resonating sound. “The professionalism of a jetigen player is not in attacking the strings, but rather in timely toning them down,” Toishy said. Unlike the traditional jetigen that is placed flat, electric jetigen has to be kept at an angle.

Roksonaki band, also from Kazakhstan, is the band set on employing the richness of the Kazakh ethnic music. They experiment with styles and their combinations embracing all the genres of the contemporary music. The band uses poetic shamanistic texts creatively weaving them into their contemporary compositions and giving a new live to the ancient layer of the nomadic culture. They heavily rely on folk instruments, both Kazakh national ones and those of other peoples of the world, which makes their music even more original.

Namgar band from Buryatia performed songs from their new album at the 2nd edition of The Spirit of Tengri in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Namgar band was created in 2001. The band performs traditional Buryatian and Mongilian songs. Namgar Lkhasaranova is the lead singer of the band. She performs along with her husband Yevgeniy Zolotarev. Namgar sings ancient nomadic songs, long songs, ballades and many other traditional songs. In the Tibet language “Namgar” means "white cloud".

Bolot Bairyshev, a well-known multi-instrumentalist from Altai also participated in the festival. He pictured the magnetic beauty of the Altai Mountains in his music interfused with folk tunes. He is a frequenter of international ethnic festivals and spends most of his time touring the world, always carrying Altai – the source of his inspiration – in his heart.

Sainkho Namtchylak from Tyva was the pearl of the festival. She is a world famous singer with exceptional voice and a master of throat singing techniques. She is the one who introduced the Western audience to the female overtone singing. Her music has no boundaries. She creates filigreed combinations of Tyva folk tunes and the unusual singing techniques with the trendiest music styles making the music of her people blend into the contemporary western music in a dazzling symbiosis.



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


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