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THE PROJECT Asyl Mura: There is no culture without the past

Over the period of the centuries-old history, Kazakh people have created a priceless stratum of the rich musical culture, traditions of which are being with dignity maintained in the contemporary era. The historic route covered by the Kazakh people, that goes back to the unique civilization of nomads became the basis of an intense and rapid development of directions of art, such as music, spoken folk arts and applied arts specific for nomads. Extraordinary musical talents distinguish the Kazakh. Practically, in any family there is a person who is a good singer or can skillfully play on folk musical instruments. Therefore, music is loved and cherished by everyone. From time immemorial, talented composers, musicians and singers of the Great Steppe just as outstanding rulers, dignitaries and warlords were highly honored by the people. Over centuries, the main keeper and popularizer of musical masterpieces of the past was the people itself. The eventful ХХ century has presented the mankind an opportunity to keep for descendants not only music, but also the sounds of the instruments and voices of prominent performers. However, today a critical situation related to preservation of musical culture monuments has been arisen. Unique samples of the traditional music's masterpieces collected not by one generation of enthusiasts and true connoisseurs, the sounds of instruments and voices of prominent performers - Dina Nurpeisova, Amre Kashaubaev, Manarbek Erzhanov, Kali Zhantleuov, Zhappas Kalambaev - as well as of first representatives of a new professional art who by right may be regarded co-authors of these masterpieces - Kulyash and Kanabek Baiseitovs, Kurmanbek Zhandarbekov, Garifulla Kurmangaliev written on wax and magnetic carriers in their time, can be irrevocably lost because time is inexorable. Besides, what is the value of even available information, if it is inaccessible to ordinary citizens, if they do not have an opportunity to approach it? Today it is already difficult to find equipment for listening gramophone records and reel magnetic tapes. All this has gone.

Development of new digital technologies allows to preserve for next generations the works of great musicians not only of our contemporaries, but also for those whose performances had been recorded onto audio transmitters early in the past century and are being stored in the archives. This very idea - restoration, digital cleaning and transmission onto modern sound transmitters of musical masterpieces of Kazakh people - became the core of the non-commercial cultural project Asyl Mura - Musical heritage of Kazakhstan initiated by the Ministry of culture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Agency Khabar, the Company Coca-Cola CIS Services Ltd., Representative Office in Kazakhstan the CIS RTRC "Kazakhstan" and the public fund Universal Media Services.
Participation of Coca-Cola in the project is of vital significance. Its Representative Office is the only sponsor of the project. The global tasks of the project Asyl Mura may only be fulfilled with financial support rendered by the Company Coca-Cola CIS Services Ltd., Representative Office in Kazakhstan. For the company it is very important that the project pursues noble purposes and essentially differs from usual sponsorship contributions. It is guided not by commercial interests but by the aspiration to do a feasible bit to preservation of the country's spiritual heritage, of which it is sincerely sympathetic.

The ceremony of signing the joint Memorandum by the founders and the presentation of the project Asyl Mura - Musical heritage of Kazakhstan took place at the hotel Ankara in February 2001 in Almaty (the largest city of Kazakhstan, where the representative office of the company is based). This event as the project itself became one of the most recognizable and momentous ones in the cultural life of the country.

In April, the public fund Universal Media Services specially created for the coordination and practical implementation of the project Asyl Mura announced a tender for supply of equipment for a sound studio where the main work on restoration and preservation of the musical heritage would be done. A separate premise for the studio has been allocated in the Central State archives of cinema-photo-documents and sound recordings of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Company Coca-Cola CIS Services Ltd., Representative Office in Kazakhstan has covered all expenses related to its repair and equipment. The opening ceremony of the studio took place in August 2001. The sound studio is equipped with the OTARY tape recorder allowing good and careful reading old archival recordings, a set of advanced computer equipment provided for cleaning, restoration and editing of sound information. The studio is also outfitted with the state-of-the-art DAT-tape recorder with use of which 'renewed' musical sounding can be carried onto digital transmitters. The studio equipment meets all strictest requirements of world standards and is second to none on the territory of Kazakhstan. The fact that one of the tape recorders was manufactured for the project Asyl Mura highlights its uniqueness. It was delivered from the South America. The main work of the project began after the opening of the studio. Music experts listened to, analyzed and selected the most precious materials from the archives to be restored and re-archived in the first place. Over the past period, archives employees managed to restore more than thousand five hundred storage units of musical documents. In total, under the project Asyl Mura more than five thousand hours of clean musical recording are expected to be restored and transmitted onto modern sound carriers. Only the Central State archives contains more than ten thousand five hundred storage units. At the same time, in the framework of the project, there are under way searches and negotiations with respect to transferring to the archives other unique recordings preserved in the funds of TV and radio, in libraries, private collections and even in other countries: for example, a rare recording of the voice of legendary Amre Kashaubaev, who conquered the sophisticated European audience in the 20s of the past century at the World Exhibition in Paris can be found in Moscow.

The second part of the project Asyl Mura assumes noncommercial issuing of restored recordings on CDs, so that masterpieces of musical art of Kazakh people are available to wide circles of music connoisseurs in both Kazakhstan and beyond its boundaries.

In early July, at the hotel Ankara the presentation of the first CD dedicated to creative works of the People's Artist of KazSSR Gariffula Kurmangaliev. Kurmangaliev is the famous national singer, author of popular songs and bright representative of the traditional vocal and instrumental school of West Kazakhstan. He stood out due to his flawless vocals, brilliant performance style, stunning technique of the traditional Kazakh musical skills of recitals and virtuoso performance on dombra- the distinct national two-string picked musical instrument. The presentation, to which famous musicians, composers and artists, friends of Garifulla Kurmangaliev, relatives of the artist and representatives of the press were invited, was held in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere of the evening of remembrance. The second disk of the project includes best performances of the People's Artist of the Soviet Union, great singer, possessor of beautiful soprano, Kulyash Baiseitova. Just like Garifulla Kurmangaliev, Kulyash has a natural talent, which helped her achieve great success not only by performance of folk songs but also on the professional opera stage, where she with triumph acted in the main parts of the first Kazakh operas Kyz Zhibek, Birzhan and Sarah, Abai and continued to be radiant until her early tragic end. It is important to emphasize that the of CD's release became a peculiar gift to the singer's 90th anniversary, which the public of Kazakhstan has recently celebrated.

On the third disk of the noncommercial humanitarian project Asyl Mura - Musical heritage of Kazakhstan contains the voice of Bolat Shamgalievich Sarybaev, the outstanding scientist- instrumentalist, collector and prominent public and cultural figure. The collection comprises recordings of the ensemble of ancient Kazakh instruments conducted by B.Sh Sarybaev.

According to the plans of the Asyl Mura project founders, the released CDs will be used exclusively for popularization of the musical heritage of Kazakhstan. Part of them will be handed over to various cultural institutions, musical schools and libraries.

The Kazakh people over their eventful history have created the highest musical culture. Today, it is our duty to keep the heritage of the ancestors for future generations of Kazakhstan!

Project's coordinator -UMS agency
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