Arsen

Arsen Zhumabekov (Арсен Жумабеков, though he goes by his first name alone) is a popular contemporary Kyrgyz pop star who sings in Kyrgyz, Russian, and English. His music is a bit different from that of some of the other most famous Kyrgyz singers of today—less dance-y, more melodic, fitting his more serious-sounding voice.

From Talas, in northwest Kyrgyzstan, Arsen was born in 1988 and got interested in music when he was young, learning to play the guitar. He moved to Bishkek for university but while studying, started trying out the pop-singer life. Along with Omar, whom he met at university, he began singing in restaurants around Bishkek. He also took voice lessons with Talgar Zhakshylykov, a People’s Artist of the Kyrgyz Republic.

It was also with Omar that Arsen got his official start as a singer: his first solo performance was at one of Omar’s shows. After that, he started participating in concerts and festivals around the world: he (again with Omar) entered the New Wave contest in 2011. He teamed up with Kyrgyz singer Aibek Zamyrov and took fourth place in the contest, for up-and-coming young performers.

Arsen has since that time recorded much music and filmed several slick, professionally produced music videos. In 2013 he was nominated for Performer of the Year by Mediagroup Europe. While he didn’t win, he was among such company as Mirbek Atabekov and Kanykei, an achievement in itself.

 

“Write a Saga to You” (“Тагдырың сага жазганда”):

 

Lyrics for “Тагдырың сага жазганда”:

Көптөр сүйгөн күмүш күлкүңдү жанган,
Алтын болуп жаркырайсың сен айдай.
Арт жагында жүрүп, айласыздан күлүп,
Сенин ак сүйүүңө багынып бердим.

Кайырма:
Сен жалгыз калбайсың жалганда,
Көздөрүң күйүп-жанганда.
Себепсиз жанып, жалынба, жалынба,
Сен байыр алып, ага байланба.
Табасың бактың жазганда,
Тагдырың сага жазганда.

Адилетсиз сүйүү азабы кыйнады,
Айланчыктап кыз да аны кыйбады.
Көздөрү мөлтүрөп,
Көз жашы төгүлөт,
Ызага батты, ыйлады.

Кайырма

 

“Spotless” (“Аруу жан”); the music video was filmed in New York:

 

Lyrics for “Аруу жан”:

Ай асмандай бийиксиң,
Алыстан мен аярлайм.
Асылдыктын бирисиң,
Айта албаймын, абайлайм.
Жаралгансың ким үчүн?
Жаздын жарык күнүндөй,
Жылмайганың, күлүшүң,
Жарык чачат күлүңдөй.

Кайырма:
Жаным деп,
Айткым келет мен тажабай,
Жамалыңа зар болуп,
Жалооруймун баладай.

Жан дүйнөмдү эңсетип,
Жаным, менден алыссың.
Туң сүйүүмдүн эркеси,
Түштө көргөн жарыксың.
Кезиккенбиз капыстан,
Ошол күнүм арманбы?
Жетпей сага ашыккан,
Махабатым жалганбы?

Кайырма:

Кайгырамын таба албай,
Кайдан издеп барам, ай?
Дүйнө кезип издесем,
Кезикпедиң сен мага.

Кайырма

 

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.