Speech by Turdubay Abdrakhunov, Professor of Kyrgyz Literature at Bishkek University of Humanities

Date: 05 October 2011

Dear Esteemed Guests:

Today, we are witnessing a special event. We have gathered to celebrate the publication of the two-volume work “Kyrgyz Küüs: Analysis, Thoughts, and Opinions” written by the late Asan Kaybilda uulu, who, unfortunately, passed away a year ago after spending the last 20 years of his life on this work.

This we call “one less world”. It is a pity that this book launch event is taking place without the author who left for us a robust manuscript of 15,000 words. Would it not have been great if he was sitting with us here now? However, every reader who pages through his two-volume book will realize that Asan Kaybilda uulu did not die. I deeply believe that Asan Kaybilda uulu’s second life will continue to live in this fundamental publication for centuries and beyond

The Kyrgyz often say; “The words of a good person never dies; the writings of a mullah never dies”. As a talented writer-mullah, Asan Kaybilda uulu knew the komuz melodies from within; he could feel their spirit and power as he wrote his book and sang its melodies, sometimes drawing energy and inspiration from them, sometimes feeling sad. He was eager to share what he heard, read, saw and knew with future generations. His life was not spent in vain as he led a fruitful life, and his writings will never die.

Let me quote another famous Kyrgyz saying: “No one knows until no one shares it; no one sees, until no one opens it,” it is one thing to listen to and get pleasure from the komuz melodies which is passed through many centuries and reaches our time, and it is another thing to research the histories of thousands of melodies, to travel among the people to interview them, to identify the authors, bearers, and performers of each melody and organize them in a systematic way.

While he was working tirelessly on his manuscript day and night, he developed a heart disease and survived three heart attacks. One time, when he lay unconscious in the hospital hanging between life and death, he began to hear quiet komuz music from somewhere. As if he himself was playing the komuz, his fingers slowly began to move and revive. That melody, which saved Asan Kabilda uulu’s life, was the Kyrgyz köchü (Kyrgyz Nomadic Movement).

Thus, the two-volume book which you see now was not produced so easily. I would not be wrong to say that it was created from the blood and the soul of Asan Kaybilda uulu who gives his best from his heart to our hearts.

When he was alive, this great komuz player and professional scholar of komuz music, Asan Kaybilda uulu built a wonderful legacy for himself that will not wither for many centuries. His legacy will continue to contribute to the development of the Kyrgyz spiritual culture.

Finally, I would like to thank the University of Central Asia and the Aga Khan Development Network for supporting this publication and contributing to the preservation of Central Asian cultural and spiritual heritage by taking our heritage and giving it back to the Kyrgyz peoples.

In my personal capacity, and on behalf of our honoured guests, I would like to give “a mountain-like” thanks and blessings to Dr Elmira Köchümkulova for her tireless work as she stood by this project from beginning to end of its publication. She greatly contributed to the scholarly value of this monumental work.

Thank you.

Professor Turdubay Abdrakhunov
Bishkek University of Humanities

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