July 5, 2018

I am happy to continue writing my story of ‘My journey to khomus world or how I began to be a KHOMUSIST, but I would rephrase it here as ‘My journey with Khomus’.

Through khomus competitions and events, I started to meet established musicians and get to know the older generation of khomusists. One of this kind of events was the competition in spring, 2007, dedicated to the first Sakha khomusist from the Republic of Sakha who performed in Moscow as a solo performer in 1948 (and then later in 1957) with his ensemble of khomus performers.

I will speak briefly about this man, who brought Sakha khomus into a wider world. He is from Taatta Uluus — his name is LUKA TURNIN and Taatta people are proud of him not only because he was a well known khomus performer. He was also:

A director and performer in many plays performed at the People’s Theater.

A director and a performer of dance.

A connoisseur and teacher of the folklore of the Sakhas and Evens.

A creator of costumes for amateur performances.

Among many other noble achievements in his life!

Luka’s ensemble performed in Moscow in the concert hall named after P.I. Chaykovskiy, on the 325 year anniversary of the Republic of Sakha’s inclusion into the Russian government system. The Taatta people are proud of their bright ancestor, and in memory of the lifetime achievement and contributions to Sakha history, folklore and culture by their fellow countryman, among other honours, khomus competitions are conducted in his name.

One of these competitions was a regional competition for Taatta Uluus and regions located closely to that Uluus. The event was dedicated to the 90th birthday of Luka Turnin. This event is happening at significant dates related to Luka Turnin. On previous occurences of this competition, one woman won and received an apartment in Yakutsk! But I am not sure how and where. In the year when I competed, there were many entrants with a wide age range between oldest to youngest. The main prize was a Khomus made by Revoriy Chemchoev. That was an exciting time for me, as I was able to meet Khomusists like Ivan Alekseev – Khomus Uybaan, Spiridon Spiridonovich Shishigin and Albina Mikhailovna Degtyareva, as well as staff and workers of the khomus museum. This competition also had a category for painters and as I was also painting in those days, I gave them my paintings dedicated to the topic of Khomus.

What would you think if you saw your favourite singer or actor, who you saw only on TV, then suddenly met them in real life? Of course, that sounds too fanatic, but it is amazing seeing and talking to people who are also passionate in something you love in the same way you are! Those people were known only in khomusist circle and by khomus music lovers in those days, inside the ‘khomus world’. At that time, it was exactly during my early days of newly exploring khomus, learning by myself, discovering and growing as an artist, performer and individual.

Guess what happened that time? Who won the competition?

At that event I had improved steadily since the competition ‘New Names’ in Yakutsk — my techniques had become more wider and more confident. I won the regional competition dedicated to ‘90th birthday of LUKA TURNIN’! It is one of the best memories in my life, and I received a khomus made by a legendary Sakha khomus maker ‘Revoriy Chemchoev’! I didn’t need to have an apartment or whatever, I have got another DREAM! Khomus!

KHOMUS made by Revoriy Chemchoev, Luka Turnin’s 90s

Luka Turnin 90s 

Ivan Alekseev – Khomus Uybaan, Rimma Gerasimovna, Me (Old Newspaper about Luka Turnin)

Me and S. Shishigin

Me and A. Degtyareva   

I am thankful to Ivan Alekseev – Khomus Uybaan and president of International Center of Khomus Music, Spiridon Shishigin the virtuoso khomusist, Albina Degtyareva the director of the Ayarkhaan touring group, the director of the theatre and other members of jury team and Khomus museum team. Those days hold a very warm place in my memories.

Taatta State Theatre, Ensamle of Khomusist girls from Kharbalaakh village, and Luka Turnin’s doughter’s ensamle of Khomusists 

The year of 2007 for me was very interesting and full! For the first time in my life I visited a different country abroad from Russia — France. In July, the children from the Art school in our Taatta region and Kemerovo town joined an international festival/competition ‘Crystal Lyra’, where I received a diploma of the laureate. It was interesting to see the French countryside and Paris as well as other intermediate places like Germany and Poland at that time. I remember those were such hot days. It was the first time I left my cold place and met the hot azure coast!

Another interesting thing related to Khomus happened in 2007. Me and my mother were in Yakutsk close to July, before going to France. I saw an advertisement and I tried my luck in the casting of a whole Russian competition called ‘Minute of Fame’. It is a Russian television talent show competition originating from the ‘Got Talent’ series, which started in February 2007 on 1TV. I won the opportunity to compete in Moscow! They even called me from Moscow when I was in Taatta, asking me to join their show! However — already at that time, I understood that this was not my path to walk in Khomus Music. I denied the invitation, which instead going to me, went to another person — a man who was also playing khomus. They dressed him like alien and literally put an alien playing on an electronic keyboard behind him in his performance. After watching that on TV, I was glad that I had denied it. Later, I found myself in the local newspaper ‘Yakutsk Vecherniy’, the headline read: ‘Eh, Natasha, Natasha! Why did you deny it?’. I understood at that time — no way, I don’t want to take this path of desperately trying to be famous! Being famous for one minute is bullshit! And so is being famous in that way! Some people are desperate for attention, but I was always warned by my spirits that that’s no my destiny. I am still on my journey…

This long and personal story will continue next week. I am excited to tell more! But for now, it is in danger to become too long! I hope that you have enjoyed reading so far and please keep checking here, next time I hope to complete this story!

If you have any questions or thoughts, please add them to the comments section in the bottom. I love to hear your thoughts and I can answer any questions in future blog posts or in the comments section itself.

Saydyy Kuo

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