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электронный журнал "Новые исследования Тувы"

Legendary performer of ethno-jazz Sainkho became a National Artist of Tuva

Tuvan singer Sainkho, who has been long living abroad and who has won international fame was awarded the Honorable title of  "National Artist of republic Tyva". The well-deserved award was presented to the legendary singer at a charity concert by the head of Tuva Sholban Kara-ool. The audience welcomed this decision with ovations.

Sainkho - Lyudmila Okan-oolovna Namchylak - was born in a small village Beldir-Kezhii of the Ulug-Khem district. Of Tuvan ASSR in a family of teachers. She graduated form the Moscow Ippolitov-Ivanov music school, the folk section, and the Gnesinsky institute with aspiranture. Since 1990 she has been living abroad. She has become the first woman who performed throat-singing. The singer successfully experiments, combining traditional Tuvan music with avant-garde music directions.

Her creativity stimulated great interest in the West, but real recognition at home came slowly. In December of 2009, by the decision of Sholban Kara-ool, the singer received the title of "Merited artist of Republic Tyva", and a year an half later - National artist of the republic.

In her interview in  "Dzhaz-kvadrat", Sainkho admitted: "I can't say that my life in Russia did not work out. I simply had no possibilities for self-realization. I think that I still do not have such possibilities in Russia even now. Non-commercial music should always be supported by the authorities. It is like that all over the world.

In Russia, non-commercial music has to survive on enthusiasm. Two countries in the world - Russia and Japan have no possibility to finance non-commercial art. A bright example of the opposite is Germany, where the government finances precisely alternative art. Everybody there understands that it is only right now that this type of art does not fit into some kind of usual framework. But it is precisely  this type of art that carries the seed which will give fruit in a few years, and will become a mass art. In the West they understand that it in order to form mass ideologies, one has to work for a long time".

In the West, Sainkho Namchylak obtained the chance to experiment, and won world fame as a performer close to tradition of "world music".

She answers the question "And was it hard to assert yourself in the world of music?"  this way:  "Capitalism is after all exploitation before anything else, that is a system which is always using you. If you meet their demands of a particular time, then everything comes to you like magic. But then the first wave of popularity is gone, the market used you up, sucked out all they could, and throws you out on the garbage dump.

In the West, the complexity of art is that you have to protect yourself, and not let yourself be destroyed. To give the maximum to this system, and at the same time use it to the maximum. This system has a counter-reaction: good reviews, good house, many friends. But as the years go by, the success is over, and then either  you are a master, or you fall. in the West, it is easy to rise up, and even easier to burn up. The art is in learning to be necessary in order to preserve myself. Take, for example, Evan Parker. Somebody will say: he's been playing the same thing for twenty years. But each new album - cosmic music - touches the hearts of a different generation of people. That is how "the same thing" works…

Folklore is the only framework that holds me up, regardless of all the ups and downs of life. It is the only thing that is truly important to me - a priceless corner of my soul, of my past, my future. And my roots,  which I can never deny even if I wanted to.

They are in my philosophy, in my face, in my voice. It would be simply stupid to renounce all this. The most harmonic thing was to find a suitable form for such a voice…To preserve my own true nature, I turn to folk material. Folk music is alive, it is in constant movement, and one has to find an individual approach to it, that is the only way not to kill it.  That is the way to keep it alive. When it stops being like that, it stops being folk music. Then it turns into some sort of a billboard poster: balalaikas and matryoshkas (wooden dolls)."

Dina Oyun, translated by Heda Jindrak
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