X
X

Kyrgyzstan: Behind the Mask of a Provocative Performer

Kyrgyz singer Tata Ulan focuses much of his music and message on spirituality and politics. (Photo: Courtesy Tata Ulan)

The music video is all one take. Standing behind a podium bearing the state seal of Kyrgyzstan, wearing a felt kalpak hat and armor like the national epic hero Manas, a masked figure hectors the audience over a bounding beat:

"In 20 years what has the state given its children? / Sold out wisdom, turned to business, wisdom’s on the street now! / What do my Kyrgyz need? You're a Muslim, you need religion! / What do my Kyrgyz need? Pure Kyrgyz language is what you need!"

The song is "Ne Kerek?," or "What is Needed?" and the masked man is Tata Ulan, one of Kyrgyzstan's most innovative – and provocative – performers. “Ulan is absolutely original,” said Bermet Imanalieva, editor of the culture website Limon.kg. “He raises issues that are very topical in Kyrgyzstan.”

To read the full story

Nate Schenkkan is a Bishkek-based journalist.

Kyrgyzstan: Behind the Mask of a Provocative Performer

1 / 1
X
> <