In 2005, I traveled to Kashgar, China, to teach an American Culture course for students from Kashgar Teachers' College. Each morning, before class, the Uyghur students gave us hour-long Uyghur culture lessons. If I have learned anything about the Uyghurs, it is that they are very proud of their culture, especially their traditional music and dance. Even with the recent conflicts that have errupted there, bringing unprecedented global awareness of the Uyghurs, there is still not much to be found on the Web about their vibrant culture. However, I just discovered this web site http://www.uyghurensemble.co.uk out of the U.K. that is the most comprehensive site I can find on Uyghur music, including images of their traditional costumes and instruments, as well as a plethora of excellent recordings (including The Twelve Muqam, a piece of music that takes twenty-four hours to perform!). The thing my students asked of me before I came back to the States was that I tell America about Uyghur culture, so it is my pleasure to honor their request. Oh, and one more thing: the Uyghurs love America. They would want me to tell you that, too. www.culture-making.com/post/uyghur_culture_muqam_and_more
by Christy (USA)
15 July 2009.
Uighurs are an ancient and intellectual culture who long ago attained adult literacy and are known for their unique contributions to medical knowledge.
Here are eight tracks of traditional Uighur music:
The Uighurs have been in the news a bit recently. Like the Tibetans the Uighurs were another minority oppressed by China, who has "decimated their culture" and now calls them terrorists. This hysteria eventually led to several Uighurs being captured and sent to Guatanamo. They were cleared years ago, but could not be sent back to China because they would be killed, and no one else would take them, due to the threat of Chinese reprisal. Even though they are harmless and their release has been supported by the courts and both the current and former US presidents, the US Congress has blocked moves to settle them in the US. The remaining detainees are now being relocated, four to Bermuda, some to Albania, some to Italy, and the rest of them to Palau.
The site above has some photos of their homeland here:
by X. J. Scott on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 12:36am
It warms my heart that you post links (www.uyghurensemble.co.uk) to such soulful music.
You mentioned something recently about music-that-gives-you-hope-for-the-future-of-music. Music like the Uighur songs (and a great deal of other music often called "ethnic") has long given, and continues to give me, (strong words follow, but it's sincere) deep musical nourishment and inspiration, "hope for humanity" even. It has a great deal to teach the culture I grew up in, but even if it never catches on here on a mass scale, the life-force is there in it for those who have ears to give it a chance. Sometimes the most powerful music happens to come from people who've been through horrific poverty, exploitation, invasion, genocide - who've been rendered so-called "powerless" in world affairs and economics.
by Michael K. Henderson on Sunday, July 5, 2009 at 3:10pm