Urmat Usenov

Urmat Usenov (Урмат Усенов) is a Kyrgyz pop singer. These days he sings mainly in Kyrgyz, though he has recorded several songs in Russian and even occasionally sings in Turkish.

Usenov grew up in Talas, a Kyrgyz village, but his parents sent him to Bishkek when he was 11 because they believed he had a future in the arts and wanted him to get a good education. He started writing music and poetry and playing the guitar while he was still in school, but he didn’t make it his full-time occupation at first: he attended the Kyrgyz-Turkish university Manas (Манас), where he studied Turkish language and philology.

Usenov has officially been on the music scene for more than ten years—in 2005 he attended a music festival at Lake Issyk-Kul and performed his song “Spring Rain” (“Весенные дождь”), which soon became a hit. Over the next few years he built up a self-sustaining music career. In 2012 Usenov took part in a music festival for the Turkic-language countries (Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan participated) in Ankara, Turkey. He performed in both Kyrgyz and Russian, and he along with Azerbaijani singer Azerin performed “Sari-Oy” (“Сары–Ой”; the title is the name of a village near Lake Issyk-Kul), a Kyrgyz folk song.

Usenov’s more recent success has been mostly due to his duets with his wife, Nelya (Неля), who is also a successful Kyrgyz singer. Since about 2012, their songs have been appearing on hit parades for weeks on end. It hasn’t been a totally smooth path, though—they have said that while at home they have their own spheres, they often argue about their joint musical ventures. For them, passions run high when it comes to music.

They’ve continued performing and finding success, though, even as a new generation of pop singers has started to take center stage. They’ve continued to release popular hits and in 2015 recorded the soundtrack for the new musical comedy film Stutterer (Кекеч).

 

“Girl–Boy” (“Кыз-жигит”), Usenov and Nelya’s most recent hit, from the Stutterer soundtrack:

 

Lyrics for “Кыз-жигит”:

Сагынычым саамал болуп көбүрөт,
Санаам санга, оюм онго бөлүнөт.
Сезимдерим сен тарапка агылып,
Мен өзүңсүз жашай албайм көрүнөт.

Ой, карындаш көктү карап менсинбе,
Жолдуу кызга мендей күйөө берсин де.
Намыстарга байлыгыңды мындай кой,
Баары, баары болот сенин энчиңде.

Ой-ой-ой-ой
На-на-на-рей

Мага тааныш көп жигиттин жомогу,
Баары, баары мен күткөндөй болобу?
Аны кийин көрөсүң да карындаш,
А дегенде, макул болчу оболу.

Ой-ой-ой-ой
На-на-на-рей

Кой, кой жигит мен түшүндүм оюңа,
Торой басып, тоскоол болбо жолума.
А дегенде макул бол деп, а кийин,
Сазайымды бердиң баары колума.

Ой-ой-ой-ой
На-на-на-рей

Эми бизде мына кызык тамаша,
Жөндүү сөзгө таарынасың балача.
Сен күткөндөй болот баары дегеним,
Акыл-эсиң, мамилеңе жараша.

Ой-ой-ой-ой
На-на-на-рей

Сагынычым саамал болуп көбүрөт,
Санаам санга, оюм онго бөлүнөт.
Сезимдерим сен тарапка агылып,
Сенсиз жашай албайм…

Ой-ой-ой-ой
На-на-на-рей

 

“Sorry” (“Прости”), an earlier Russian-language song by Usenov alone:

 

Lyrics for “Прости”:

С небес мне светит яркий свет
Я объясню ему что нет
Нет жизни без твоей любви
Ты обними и мне скажи
Скажи мен теплые слова
Они хранят всегда меня
Я на краю земли стою
Тебя молю не отпущу

Прости меня, меня пойми меня
Открой же сердце без огня
В моих мечтах ты обретешь покой
Навсегда
Ведь без тебя мне жить ни дня
К тебе бегу от грусти я
Прими же мое сердце
И взгляни мне в глаза

Скажи мне теплые слова
Они хранят всегда меня
Я на краю земли стою
Тебя молю не отпущу

Прости меня, меня пойми меня
Открой же сердце без огня
В моих мечтах ты обретешь покой
Навсегда
Ведь без тебя мне жить ни дня
К тебе бегу от грусти я
Прими же мое сердце
И взгляни мне в глаза

 

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.