The Life of Telengit Musical Folklore in Yazula Village in Conditions of Transitivity

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Key words
Telengits, Telengit musical culture, Telengit music folklore, folklorism, the transformation of musical culture, kaichi, transitive society, Yazula, Ulagan region, Altai
Yulia S. Ovchinnikova
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: +7 (495) 734-00-70
1–13, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
PhD in Cultural Studies, Associate Professor at the Department of Comparative Literature and Culture, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Area Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Date of publication

The research was carried out with the support of the Interdisciplinary Scientific-Educational School of Moscow University, “The Preservation of the World Cultural and Historical Heritage.”


This article focuses on the current state of Telengit music culture in Yazula Village (Ulagan Region, Republic of Altai) in conditions of transitivity. The material presented is based on field studies in 2003 and 2019. The Telengit musical folklore of this territorially isolated village is characterized by polystadiality; the “probabilistic,” non-linear nature of its development; by an increase of cultural diversity; and by the transformation of a monolingual environment into a multi-lingual one in linguistic, musical and ontological terms. Channels for outside cultural influence on the intonational field of the Telengit musical tradition include: radio, television, the Internet, the local club, transportation to the city; and International Kurultai of storytellers. In the presence of different forms of folklore (Soviet, Russian, Altaian) performed in the village club, the village folksong tradition continues to live on exclusively in a ritual context (inaccessible to outsiders). The mastery of kai as a specific type of intonation, typical for the Turks of Gorny Altai, that marks their ethnocultural identity, is in demand today by tourists, regional administrations and the public. This leads to the migration of carriers of this tradition out of isolated settlements into more central ones. The transformation of the art of kai in modern Telengit culture is conditioned by the process of globalization/glocalization; by the change of kai’s function in a traditional context to that of staged folklorism; and by the penetration of other cultural intonational forms into the soundscape of Telengit villages.


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For citation

Ovchinnikova Yu. S. The Life of Telengit Musical Folklore of Yazula Village in Conditions of Transitivity. Traditional Culture. 2021. Vol. 22. No. 1. Pp. 39–52. In Russian.