Qyrq Qyz – Multimedia project

The multimedia project was created by the Paris based Uzbek director – Saodat Ismailova in 2017. This production was inspired by the Epic story of the Central Asian Amazons. In this play, young Central Asian female artists present songs and stories from a male-dominated Turkic tradition; they recount the epic of forty girls – teen-age Central Asian Amazons.  “Qyrq Qyz” is a successful project of the Aga Khan Music Initiative and has already performed in many countries. 

Across the steppes of Central Asia, modern bards still sing the tale of Gulaim, the teenage warrior who defended ancient clans from Eastern invaders with the help of her qyrq qyz, or 40 girls, Amazons of Turkic legend. Enduring for centuries in a male-dominated epic tradition, this powerful matriarchal narrative comes to full-throated life in the Aga Khan Music Initiative’s multimedia retelling, conceived and directed by internationally acclaimed Uzbek filmaker and artist Saodat Ismailova.

@AKMI photography by Aziza Karieva

As the next generation of Turkic female bards sing Gulaim’s legend — accompanying themselves on their traditional instruments—Ismailova’s mesmerizing film, scored by the acclaimed Tashkent-based composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, weaves an emotional tapestry of legendary female power.

Directed by Saodat Ismailova

Soundtrack and live music score by Dimitri Yanov-Yanovsky

Cinematography by Carlos Casas

Scenography by Kamilla Kurmanbekova

Costumes by Hilola Sher

Lighting design and choreography by Séverine Rième

Actress: Gulaim, Aysanem Yusupova



@AKMI photography by Sebastian Shcutuyser

Raushan Orazbaeva – Music director, qobyz – Kazakhstan

Makhabat Kobogonova – vocal, kyl-kiyak, choor, chopo-choor, jaw harps – Kyrgyzstan

Arailym Omirbekova – vocal, dombyra – Kazakhstan

Saltanat Yersultan – vocal, jetigen – Kazakhstan

Gumisay Berdikhanova – vocal, girjek – Karakalpakstan

Gumshagul Bekturganova – vocal, dutar – Karakalpakstan

Aziza Davronova – vocal, dutar, frame drum – Uzbekistan

Tokzhan Karatai – vocal, qobyz – Kazakhstan

Alibek Kabdurakhmanov – percussion, chang – Uzbekistan


The official page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/qyrqqyz/

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