- Alma Kunanbayeva
(b Maty-Bulak, Semirechye [now Krasnogorsk], 1884; d Almata, 1976). Kazakh traditional composer, singer, narrator and dömbra player. He was born to the family of a poor herder and lost his mother when he was seven years old. His family was musically talented and Azerbayev gained the nickname Bala-aqyn (‘Child-singer’) early in his life. At the age of ten or 11 he wrote the songs Ri qoyïm (‘Shoo, my Sheep’, a shepherds' cry) and Boz torgai (‘Sparrow’), which revealed his outstanding talent and became widely popular. Kazakh and Kyrgyz musicians often met in the region of Semirechye, and Azerbayev became famous as a performer of Kyrgyz songs and the Manas epic as well as the Kazakh traditional repertory; his songs also became popular in Kyrgyzstan. More than 200 of his works were recorded by the folklorists B. Erzakovich and A. Serikbayeva. Azerbayev's songs are stylistically linked with aqyn genres of recitation in their melodic construction, which follow the rhythm and meaning of the verse. He composed many songs in response to important events in Kazakhstan; songs such as ...