Music of Gagauzia
As one of the fine arts, music is a form of expression, but it goes beyond that. Music is a tool of communication, of identification, an instrument of response and a reflection of the moment in which each song is created. Music has been and continues to be one of the most interesting and representative parts of any culture. The Department of Culture of Gagauzia, knowing how important music is, has embarked on a difficult but very beneficial project: the compilation and publication of traditional Gagauzian music.
They have toured the villages of Gagauzia in order to find the popular songs that have accompanied Gagauz people for long time. According to Marina Semenova, Head of the Department of Culture of Gagauzia, the main purpose is to contribute to the appreciation and dissemination of the musical heritage inherited by tradition to bring it closer to all: “It was decided to create a base of Gagauz folklore. We want the old songs to be accessible to the younger generations.”
For several months, old people from all over Gagauzia have been brought to the studio in Ceadir-Lunga to perform and to record them. These artists are not professionals, but they are an example of how tradition is transmitted, and that music is a too personal means to rely on an absolute hierarchy of values that determine who is an artist and who is not. Cataloguing these people as artists is not a mistake since, despite not being professional musicians, they manage to transmit and evoke the memory of tradition.
Most of the songs have been sung a cappella, although you can also listen to musical ornaments in some songs. But, above all, what you can hear is the sound of the different towns and their people. “What these old people have done is an invaluable contribution to our culture” said Marina Selenova, who is also grateful that are young performers such as Vitaly Manzhul, who take as a basis old songs and folk music sounds to adequate them to modern times.
The first disc (Menevsha) was released last year, the CD included 16 traditional Gagauz songs. But they decided not to stop there, and 400 songs were recorded. This year the second CD (Oglan) will be released with 21 songs. This song is well known to many and it is performed by Maria Kyssa, “an artist with capital letters. She worked for many years in the ensemble of Kadynzha.”
Very soon there will be a third disc too, since all the songs are not covered yet. The Department of Culture is also preparing a broadcast with all the artists who have participated in the creation of these discs: “We decided that it would not be just a broadcast, but a reunion to share their experiences and know them a bit more.”
This is a significant effort to preserve the culture. “We did not involve sponsors and non-governmental organizations, these are budgetary funds allocated by the executive committee of Gagauzia, it would be wrong to seek funds to release such wealth for our own people. We do not expect to sell discs.” The CDs will be given for free to libraries and museums, and they are also planning to put the songs online so that they are freely available to everyone.