Saltanat Ashirova

Saltanat Ashirova (Салтанат Аширова) is a Kyrgyz rock and pop singer known for her “crystal voice,” according to New Faces (Новые лица). She sings mostly in Russian. In addition to her solo career, she is known for her membership in the now-broken-up band Eles and in her new project, The M.A.P. She sings and plays the guitar and drums—she has said that this is not something she is particularly proud of but just something that any musician should be able to do—and she is constantly working to improve her skills and her music, and to find herself through her music.

Ashirova has said that rhythm is the most important element to her music, rather than any particular style, though some of her strongest songs are in the general genre of urban ballads and the blues. She considers folk and ethnic music, including Kyrgyz folk songs, to be the most “real.”

Ashirova began singing when she was in kindergarten. Her parents were both musical—her father, she says, was a star drummer. She studied music at the Kyrgyz National Conservatory and acted in some musicals during her time there. Afterward, she began her singing career, performing in Bishkek restaurants and clubs and participating in various music festivals and contests around Kyrgyzstan. She was the last soloist in the long-running Kyrgyz rock band Eles. In 2014 she participated in Turkvizyon, a contest similar to Eurovision, but she was disqualified in the semifinal.

In 2013, Ashirova founded The M.A.P. with fellow musician Nurlan Mambetov (Нурлан Мамбетов), also of Eles fame. Their repertoire consists both of songs Mambetov composed for himself, and of compositions that the two worked on together. She has said that the English-language name of the group indicates that they hope to become internationally successful.

Ashirova also often takes place in demonstrations in Bishkek: she believes that violence against women is a big problem in Kyrgyzstan, and she fights against it whenever possible.

 

“Frunze” (“Фрунзе”) (Frunze is the former name of the city of Bishkek):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alEwRLpLm_I

 

Lyrics for “Фрунзе”:

Над вечерним городом моим
Проплывают тени вечеров
Как прекрасен ты в такие дни,
На вечерний Фрунзе посмотри
Посмотри – увидишь всю красу,
Чем обнять счастливый город наш?
Как милы творения твои,
Мать-природа, двери отвори!

Припев:
Фрунзе, красивый город наш,
Фрунзе, цвети и радуй глаз,
Фрунзе, я тебя люблю, живи!
Фрунзе, красивый город наш,
Фрунзе, цвети и радуй глаз,
Фрунзе, я тебя люблю, живи!

Как прекрасен наш родимый край,
Где родились братья и отцы,
Где всю жизнь проживёшь и ты,
Проживут и правнуки твои
Всё ж прекрасна жизнь твоя,
Много света, счастья и тепла
Ты несёшь не только одному –
И за это я тебя люблю!

Припев:
Фрунзе, красивый город наш,
Фрунзе, цвети и радуй глаз,
Фрунзе, я тебя люблю, живи!
Фрунзе, красивый город наш,
Фрунзе, цвети и радуй глаз,
Фрунзе, я тебя люблю, живи!

Посмотри и оглянись вокруг,
Насладись и ты, мой добрый друг
Пусть стирает время имена –
Нет прекрасней края для меня!

 

“Drops” (“Капли”):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6wWKR6m378

 

Lyrics for “Капли”:

Капли на тетрадном листке, так ли должно быть?
Я пишу вновь тебе, о том что было с нами.
Может это дождь из слёз тебе напомнит
Что было всерьез, а не пустыми словами.

Где-то за окном поют птицы про весну
Вновь настанет ночь и я не усну
А вокруг, мечтами…
Как я позвоню и услышу вновь
Про твою счастливую новую любовь
И зальюсь слезами….

Капли на тетрадном листке, как не писать?
Всё говорит о тебе, всё вновь перед глазами
Может тогда ты поймёшь,как был жесток ты
Но ничего не вернёшь и не помочь словами.

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.