May 31, 2018

Title picture from the photoshoot for my book ‘Khomus and my World’, Yakutsk, 2011

Since ancient times, shaman and she-shaman have played an important role in Sakha culture. In Sakha language, our word for she-shaman is ‘udagan’. She-shaman are well known in our culture to be more powerful than their male counterparts. Udagan can heal as well as perform ritual dances, and all other rituals or ceremonies that shaman are required to carry out in this world. The concept of a shaman in Sakha culture is slightly different to the modern life interpretation. To Sakha, shaman means ‘universal human’: a human who is talented in all aspects of life and able to perform many kinds of creativity and expertise. Our project UDAGANuniverse and performance group UDAGAN are wearing this concept of being universally creative humans.

I completed this map of the Sakha Republic just today! I used ink and watercolour on paper.

Welcome to our UDAGANuniverse!

One rainy summer day, a little girl of around 11 years old was sitting near the TV (2000), and from the screen enchanting sounds suddenly captivated her attention and brought her to the front of the screen. She saw that small metallic instrument on people’s mouths, making amazing sounds. She remembered suddenly that she also has that instrument on the shelf, which her parents told her “do not to touch otherwise it can break”. That same day, she started to hit the tongue of the instrument and make her first true sounds. Her head turned, and she understood that she had fallen in love, that’s how this long story began.

I am Saydyy Kuo from the far North-East of Siberia. To be specific, from the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the place where in the winter the cold reaches -60 C and in summer, it warms to +30 C. In my early years, my parents moved from Khangalass Uluus region to Taatta Uluus, a place which holds its ancient heritage strongly and where I grew up with deep Sakha culture and mentality in my heart. I am thankful to my life, no matter how hard and extreme it was. Life can be hard because living conditions can be extreme, and also because of the extreme nature of the far-Northern weather.

In the countryside, it was an innocent life, with belief only in the bright side of life and the future. I have brought deep Sakha tradition from that place and for that I am thankful and proud. Moreso, I am proud of my ancestors, the root from where I came to this world. The first Sakha man ‘Tygyn Darkhan’ who lived in between the 16th and 17th centuries and who began the Sakha nation’s roots (beginning from Khangalass Ulus region) is my direct ancestor. Most Sakha people came from him and Elley. I personally discovered this when I was a school child. Before then, I didn’t have any idea about our roots and history. My father is his direct connection, in one family tree. I will make a separate post about my family tree and one of the first Sakha kings (Toyon), Tygyn Darkhan.

My best friend, Khomus, carried me into the fantastic world of shamanic experience. Even before I started playing on Khomus, I had a vision in my dream which stayed deep in my mind for many years. I will write separately for you about my personal shamanic experience as a woman shaman. Through my life, I was following my dreams, and one of them brought me to Turkey. I went to Turkey with a special meaning, connected to my spiritual relationship with energetically strong places on the earth. We call these locations ‘places of the power’ and they can exist naturally or be created by historical actions: Natural ones are giving positive and healing energies to humans, while locations can be created by events such as war, and vibration of that energy can also have strong effects on humans. The area of Greece and Turkey was calling me since my childhood, and I believed that I will find something in these places.. and.. that is true! I found it! Also, he found me as well! I met my destiny for this world and my future husband Oscar. This is our 3rd year together as one in this universe.

Saydyy Kuo and Oscar at the Lavender Fields, Cotswold Lavender, England 2016
INSPIREfest 2017 Official Closing Party, AirBnb HQ ‘The Warehouse’, Dublin Grand Canal Square. Our concert as UDAGAN

In this physical world, we all come carrying a mission, and that mission can be anything. Some people come to help people, some of them to be helped, and can also give something important to the world to balance the universal energy in this life. My husband Oscar and I are running our project UDAGANuniverse together. We will touch all aspects of our creative life in our separate Blog posts, spanning from historical, cultural and philosophical aspects into methodological and technical parts.

We moved to Dublin from the North-West of England in 2016, and since then Ireland is inspiring us with its spirits. Did you know every land in this earth has its own spirit? I will make a separate Blog post about how Sakha people respect these spirits, how we are feeding the earth in gratitude, and about more spiritual rituals which I have performed since my childhood, with my mother in Sakha.

Stay in touch with me, I am Khomusist Saydyy Kuo from Sakha! Welcome to our universe!

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