25 May 2018

7 days till The Spirit of Tengri. Who else is to come up on stage?

The VI International Festival of Contemporary Ethnic Music The Spirit of Tengri will host EZZA band from the Republic of Niger, the French-born YELÉ group, and the Steppe Scape project ("Stars of Eurasia"), reports. The main event of the upcoming summer will take place on June 2-3 at the Abay square in front of the Republic Palace.



The trio EZZA represents the style of the Tuareg tribes on the world musical scene, bringing it to a new level. The musicians mix modern rock sound with African vibes, trance and groove. EZZA's desert blues-rock with its dynamic and sensual tunes has been called "the modern sound of the Sahara". So far the band has recorded two albums: ABADAYA (Education, 2014) and ALKHER (Peace, 2015).

The leader of the band is the vocalist Adam Goumour, whose soulful voice is intertwined with smooth guitar lines. He was born in the family of a blacksmith in the Republic of Niger, as a child he was inspired by famous Tuareg groups such as Tinariwen and Takrist Nakal. After moving to the French city of Toulouse in 2010, he creates a band and invites bass player Menad Moussaoui (Kabylie, the north of modern Algeria) and drummer Stéphane Gratteau (France). Their songs tell about the culture of the Republic of Niger and Tuaregs.

"The band has existed for nine years, since 2009. We have already released two studio albums and now are working on our third release. Our band is called EZZA because it is the last letter in the Tifinagh alphabet, the symbol of free people and resistance. This name fully reflects our philosophy - the resistance to injustice and cruelty, the freedom and peace throughout the world. The style of our music is the fusion of traditional African music of my home country - the Republic of Niger, with elements of blues and rock", says Adam Goumour.

"Travelling around the world, I love discovering different music cultures, I am familiar with Turkic music, but I would like to learn more about the culture of the Turkic peoples, so far I know very little about it. But this is an incredibly interesting, unique and distinct culture. I am aware that the Turkic music culture has a lot in common with Islamic music, I myself grew up in the Republic of Niger, a country where most inhabitants are Muslim, so I was brought up in this culture, and the culture of your people, your traditions, beliefs and your mentality are very close to me. We are going to Kazakhstan looking forward to the cultural exchange between our countries", the musician added.

The unique trio YELÉ (France, Burkina Faso and the Netherlands), whose name translates as "light" from the West African Bambara language, is known for its powerful groove. Their "mixed blood" music is born from the drift of musical continents. The band members play the N'Goni (string instrument from West Africa), the didgeridoo (wind instrument of Australian aborigines) and the guitar. All this is supplemented by a powerful vocal. The multi-instrumental trio was created in May 2016.


One of the YELÉ’s founders is Losso Keïta, a musician from Burkina Faso (playing the instruments Chant, N'Goni). Since the childhood he has been fascinated by the traditions and instruments of the griots, professional singers, wandering musicians and storytellers of the peoples of West Africa). After living in French Guiana, he moved to France. It is his powerful voice that fascinates the audience.

Also one of the founders of the group is Jasper Werner (didgeridoo, flute), a Dutchman, who has lived in France for a long time, and is considered one of the most talented didgeridoo players in the world. Australian aborigines call him Godjock Wongel Wongel Kulingne Gaykamangu. The musician is known for collaborating with many outstanding personalities of the music world, for example saxophonist Steve Wolff for the album Hunab Ku (2004), and the famous Indian violin player Suhdev Prasad Mishra (2010).

Jasper Werner shared with us, "We got together to build bridges between the continents. In translation from the Bambara language, YELÉ means "light." This is exactly what we want to give with our music. To date we have released one album, and some of the songs from it we are going to perform at the Festival. We do not compare our music with someone else's. The music we make is unique, and it's ours. Not all members of our group know much about the music of the Turkic peoples. But I do. We are happy to come to Kazakhstan and perform at such a large-scale festival as The Spirit of Tengri. We are very happy to have the opportunity to share our music, our feelings and our spirit with the Kazakh audience. "

Another member of the group is a native of Cote d'Ivoire Djeke Isaac Koffi (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass). The music brought him to Burkina Faso, where he was promptly recognised: he has collaborated with such famous representatives of the Burkinabe style as Awa Melone, King Faya, Zêdess, Dicko Fils, Ibrahim Keita. It was during this period that he met Losso Keïta, and in 2016 he moved to France, where he received a diploma degree in a jazz conservatory in Toulon. His concept of music is based on the fusion of styles where modern jazz and reggae is combined with the traditional rhythms of Africa.


The Steppe Scape project is a unique creative collaboration of the most interesting artists well-known in the West: singer Namgar (Namgar Project, Buryatia), Robert Yuldashev (Kuraisy Group, Bashkortostan), Radik Tyulush ("Huun Huur Tu", Tuva) and Angela Manukyan ("Volga", Moscow), with one of the most talented modern European musicians, German composer, guitarist and electronic designer Marcus Royter (Crimson ProjeKCt, Stick Men, Namgar Project). This year the project has been joined by famous German solo guitarist Frederic L'Epee. The musician will add modern rock sound to the group's music. It will be their first time to perform in Almaty with new members. In June 2017, the  group won the applauses of the audience at The Spirit of Astana Festival.


A throat singer from Tuva Radik Tyulush tells about how the project was born, "We have had the idea of ​​creating Steppe Scape for a long time. While meeting at different festivals and concerts, we certainly discussed it, and during a rehearsal we realized that it could a really good idea. This project have brought together all the best performers in ethno-world genre, the musicians were very happy  to do this collaboration and with real and potential opportunities."

According to Radik Tyulush, one of the Steppe Scape's missions is "the call to take care of environment, the mother Earth and the Universe", "Through our music we encourage people for goodness and peace. This is the essential message that have existed before us and hopefully will exist after."


Addressing the audience of the The Spirit of Tengri Festival, the Tuvan throat singer has promised "positive emotions" and “a surprise effect”, "We want to add more extravaganza, more colors by using various visual effects. And we will definitely try to make traditional songs sound more modern, more comprehensive and beautiful."


Musician Frederic L'Epee added, "I will be playing with Steppe Scape on the electric guitar, I'm a big fan of ethnic music in general, and Tibetan, Mongolian and Kazakh folk music in particular. It is the first time I have the opportunity to play ethnic music I have listened to and been inspired for years. I will bring modern rock sound to the Steppe Scape and try to convey the spirit of Central Asia through various melodies and rhythms."


The VI International Festival The Spirit of Tengri will be held on the first weekend of the summer - June 2 and 3. The venue for the Festival is traditionally the main open-air area of ​​the city - the Abay Square in front of the Republic Palace in Almaty. The start is at 17:00. Free entrance. The guests should expect a beautiful, powerful live show: traditionally live sound of high quality, lighting that is literally seen from space, and, definitely, the Festival's signature family atmosphere.  


The festival is held with the support of the Almaty Akimat. The general partner of the project is  Magnum Cash&Carry supermarket chain. Support by the tour operator Tez Tour Kazakhstan. Guests are welcomed by the Hotel Kazakhstan. Technical support for the Festival is provided by KZ Sound.

The Spirit of Tengri is a multicultural project established by the national radio station Tengri FM in 2012. The Festival aims at demonstrating the ethnic traditions of the countries of the world on the Kazakh land.  Over five years, more than 100 thousand Kazakhstanis and guests of the country have been its visitors. Musicians from 30 countries and regions of the world have been on tis stage. Among them are - the Turkish group BaBa Zula, the Chinese-Mongolian band Hanggai, the Magyar band Tilla Török's Band & Holdviola, the Estonian ethno band TRAD.ATTACK!, the Georgian trio The Shin, the band from Bashkortostan "Argymak", the Buryat-Finnish-Norwegian project Nordic Namgar, master of throat singing Radik Tyulush with the project "Chalama" from Tuva. Kazakhstan has been represented by the ethno music groups Aldaspan, Sharapat, Tigrahaud, Roksonaki, as well as the master of folklore Edil Khussainov.


In previous years the general partner of the Festival was

Argymak - Bur baikamys
Bolot Bairyshev - Ak Burkhan
Aldaspan - Elge qayt
Chyltys - Aba chonym
Namgar - Yundengogo
Sharapat - Kok sholaq
Nordic Namgar - My Winters Day
Tigrahaud - Arlan-kazak
Gulzada - Kurmanbek
Radik Tyulyush - Er-le Changys


The Spirit of Tengri on Womex 2015 (Hungary)
NOMAD WAY 2018 | ASTANA | JUNE 22-24
The Spirit of Tengri (2014)
The Spirit of Tengri (2016)
The Spirit of Tengri (2013)
The Shin on Tengri FM (2014)
Presentation of DVD The Spirit of Tengri 2014
The Spirit of Tengri (2017)
Voices of autumn (2014)
BaBa Zula on Tengri FM (2015)
The Spirit of Astana (2017)
Sainkho Namchylak with German Popov on Tengri FM (2014)
The Spirit of Tengri (2015)
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