Abdurehim Heyit: now that's some STRUMMING, right there...
April 2, 2009 11:20 PM   Subscribe

Who has the longest necks (on their duttars, that is) and the tallest hats in the music biz? Why the Uighurs, of course.

And one more for the road... a lucky Japanese fan caught an impromptu performance by Abdurehim Heyit, the star of this FPP, at a musical instruments shop in Kashgar, and posted it to YT. Even with all the magnificent playing from Heyit on the TV appearance and "official" video links in this FPP, this one for me rocks the hardest. Totally badass.
posted by flapjax at midnite (25 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Music of the Uighurs
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:00 AM on April 3, 2009

This is one hell of a musical travelogue. Thanks flapjax.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:19 AM on April 3, 2009

Even as a long-neck banjo player, I feel somehow ... inadequate.
posted by scruss at 1:01 AM on April 3, 2009

Watching the NHK travelogue Silk Road (via Netflix) was eye-opening. I had vaguely known about the deserts of Western China but seeing the Taklamakan basin filmed so well made it look like something right out of Dune.

The NHK Silk Road series had an episode called Journey into Music -- South Through the Tian Shan Mountains, which IIRC featured Uighur culture.

Gotta respect the Uighurs for surviving in BFE Central Asia. Reading the wikipedia entry on them, they've been buffeted by some major history over the millenia.

When the GWOT was in vogue our friends in Beijing campaigned to get the "terrist" label attached to their Uighur separatists. Last August the separatists did blow up and kill some policemen in Kashgar, the Uighur's main city.

If you don't see a travelogue you can't grok the magic of Kashgar. Right on the western edge of the desert basin, back in the day it took months if not years to travel East into China on the silk road. You can go SE over mountains and basins to pass into Tibet (made easier now that China surreptitiously annexed some border parts when India and Pakistan weren't looking), S into the wilds of the Western extent of the Himalaya, W into the Pamirs if dying in mountain solitude is your thing, NW into Kyrgyzstan , Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, eventually making the passage to Samarkand, the extreme E edge of the Russian Steppe.
posted by mrt at 1:13 AM on April 3, 2009

To grok (pronounced /ˈgrɒk/) is to share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity without experience. Grokking is the intermingling of intelligence without traveling.

posted by Mblue at 2:05 AM on April 3, 2009

Nice post.
posted by Mblue at 2:06 AM on April 3, 2009

Apart from the musical content itself, the way the right hand is used is very interesting. Thanks.
posted by nicolin at 3:10 AM on April 3, 2009

...the way the right hand is used is very interesting.

And how! It's quite amazing, this strumming technique, partly so because it doesn't look like he's playing what he's playing. There's finger action going on in those strums that you just can't see, but you hear the results. It's an odd visual/aural disconnect.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:38 AM on April 3, 2009

Fascinating to watch and listen to. Great find, flapjax.
posted by RussHy at 3:50 AM on April 3, 2009

I'm tired of people who think that this music is all about hats. You've got to listen to this music - really listen to it! - and you will appreciate it as more than a fashion statement.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:04 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

So, flapjax, when is this guy next performing in Tokyo...?
Thank you for a really good find. I'll be listening to stuff through Youtube for the rest of the evening.
posted by whatzit at 4:31 AM on April 3, 2009

Amazing stuff. Thanks for the post, flapjax.
posted by metaquarry at 4:34 AM on April 3, 2009

Someone recommended me music furthest from the sea in this post. Abduhrehim Heyit's track is probably my most listened one. He knows how to play his dotar.
posted by azarbayejani at 4:56 AM on April 3, 2009

When I was in Kashgar a couple of years ago I was walking down the street where all the music shops are and saw a crowd gathered. Mind you, it was January, so it was bitterly cold, but the crowd was mesmerized by a disheveled old, old, ooooooooold man, sitting right on the cold ground playing the everliving shit out of a dotar. I mean this old man made Jimmy Page look like a six year old at his first guitar lesson. When he finished his song after 20 minutes or so everybody just walked off as if nothing had happened, including the old guy. No body gave him any money, nothing. Just a quick dotar solo break I guess?

Or maybe an excuse to have assembly under an oppressive regime that restricts your freedom to excercise this right.

Note: This was not to be mistaken for the "street music" used to advertise the opening of a store, or a circumcision party, or a half off lamb kebabs, or you name it in Kashgar, constantly.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:00 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

He's amazing. I was pleasantly surprised by the similarity of some of the licks/passages to American folk and blues music. Being Persian, I've been exposed to quite a bit of tar -- dutar and setar (not to be cofused with sitar) -- music but I'd never noticed it sounding so similar to Western music before.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:56 AM on April 3, 2009

...I'd never noticed it sounding so similar to Western music before.

Indeed, some of that similar flavor is what made me think this would be some good music to post to MetaFilter: it's really not all that unfamiliar, exactly...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:35 AM on April 3, 2009

posted by teresci at 7:52 AM on April 3, 2009

Good stuff. The turkic lute tradition is a lot more transnational than national borders would make you think. The baglama saz tradition in Turkey has several techniques - using a pick is the famous one, but the technique of struming and picking known as şelpe is rising in popularity among short neck baglama fanatics. Erol Parlak is a well known şelpe specialist.
posted by zaelic at 10:02 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Amazing music! After listening to stuff like this, Western music sounds so sterile in comparison.
posted by archagon at 11:55 AM on April 3, 2009

BAH! I can't wait to get home so I can check this stuff out.
posted by snsranch at 12:29 PM on April 3, 2009

This looks great. Thanks, flapjax.
posted by homunculus at 2:07 PM on April 3, 2009

WOW! Thanks for sharing this flapjax.

That Right Hand thing/technique is strikingly similar if not the same as in flamenco guitar. And yea, I hear a little flamenco in there. I wonder if this is a closer fit to being the great grand daddy to flamenco than the Moorish influence...Fascinating!
posted by snsranch at 5:19 PM on April 3, 2009

Hiya zaelic! Thanks for that info and those links. O knew I could count on you to make some substantial contributions to this thread!

And all other commenters, glad you dig this music.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:39 PM on April 3, 2009

Uh, that is, "I" knew...

Well, maybe "O" knew, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:40 PM on April 3, 2009

Wow indeed. I'm especially amazed that the Uighars somehow ended up with the old set from Soul Train. Actually, that guy really knows how to grace a stage; thanks for the show, flapjax. How great it would be to just run into him in the street like that, and film him doing those remarkable riffs.

p.s. My friend Gene's baglama is a beautiful instrument.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:06 PM on April 3, 2009

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