Kaichy — ​Carrier and Keeper of the Epic Heritage

Key words
Altaians, storyteller (kaichy), epic tradition, heroic epic (kai chorchyok)
Arkadii A. Konunov
About the Author
E-mail: konun1974@mail.ru Tel.: +7 (388-22) 2-53-04
6, Sotsialisticheskaya str., Gorno-Altaysk, 649000, Russian Federation
PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, S. S. Surazakov Research Institute of Altaic Studies
Date of publication

The epic heritage of the Altaians is a part of the world epic culture and is one of the greatest monuments of oral folk art in the world. Since ancient times, the Altaians have two forms of performance of the heroic epic: recitative and special guttural singing called kai. Kai is the classic form, the most popular form among the people. The rhapsode who performs the kai with guttural singing is called a kaichy, and for centuries the kaichy has occupied an important place in the spiritual and cultural life of the people. Among Altai people, it is customary to consider a kaichy not simply a person who can convey epic works in rhythmically organized speech; the kaichy is a master, professionally trained in his art from childhood. One of the main conditions for the recognition of the performer as a kaichy is his ability to perform an epic work from beginning to end with guttural singing, to the accompaniment of atopshur, a two-stringed plucked instrument. Kaichy are creatively gifted by nature, have a good memory and the ability to convey the artistic beauty of epic works to the audience. This article presents information about the life and the epic repertoire of Altai kaichi. It is based on archival materials stored in the archive of the Research Institute of Altaic Studies, information received from the relatives of storytellers, and on works by researchers of the heroic epic.


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For citation

Konunov A. A. Kaichy — ​Carrier and Keeper of the Epic Heritage. Traditional Culture. 2022. Vol. 23. No. 1. Pp. 41–50. In Russian.