Shoro / Шоро

Shoro (Шоро) is the Kyrgyz drink of choice on a hot summer’s day. Considered an affordable, healthy refreshment and thought to improve digestion, Shoro, which means “salty” in Kyrgyz, produces pungent and slightly tangy fermented drinks.  Shoro is a truly self-made brand, built from the ground up. The company began in 1992, when brothers Tebaldi […]

Magical Journey / Керемет көч

Magical Journey (Керемет көч) is a Kyrgyz children’s animated television series. It began in 2006 and was the first Kyrgyz-language cartoon produced in independent Kyrgyzstan. Like many Russian cartoons, it has an educational goal—to teach children how to deal with unpleasant situations, avoid unnecessary conflicts, build self-esteem, and uncover their potential. The show is a social […]

Urmat Usenov / Урмат Усенов

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 […]

Bishkek, I Love You / Бишкек, я люблю тебя

Bishkek, I Love You (Бишкек, я люблю тебя) is a 2011 Kyrgyz comedy/drama film. The film’s tagline was “The first film about your favorite city” (“Первый фильм про твой любимый город”), highlighting how its goal was not only to tell a good story but specifically to give Bishkek the film treatment it deserves. Ruslan Akun […]

Salaam, New York / Салам, Нью-Йорк

Salaam, New York (Салам, Нью-Йорк) is a 2013 Kyrgyz film by director Ruslan Akun (Руслан Акун), who also directed and wrote 2011’s Bishkek, I Love You (Бишкек, я люблю тебя). Akun also wrote the film, along with Gulzhan Toktogulova (Гульжан Токтогулова). It was based on true events—Akun’s time studying at a visual arts school in […]

A Father’s Will / Атанын керээзи

A Father’s Will (Kyrgyz: Атанын керээзи; Russian: Завещание отца) is a 2016 Kyrgyz drama. It was Kyrgyzstan’s 2016 submission to the Oscars for consideration for its Best Foreign Language Film category. (Kyrgyzstan has submitted to the Oscars nine times, but has not yet made the shortlist—maybe this is their year!) The film was directed and […]

Kurmanjan Datka / Курманжан датка

Kurmanjan Datka (Курманжан датка; also known in English as Queen of the Mountains) is a 2014 Kyrgyz historical drama/biopic. The film tells the story of Kyrgyz stateswoman Kurmanjan—“datka” means “general” in Kyrgyz, but it has political, not just military, connotations—from her childhood to her role in uniting the Kyrgyz people. The film is entirely in […]

Nazgul Toktakunova / Назгуль Токтакунова

Nazgul Toktakunova (Назгуль Токтакунова) is a Kyrgyz pop singer. Some of her music—she sings in both Kyrgyz and Russian—is influenced by rap and hip-hop stylings, though most of her music is more generally pop-y. Toktakunova was born in 1987 in Bishkek. She always wanted to become a singer—and in 2015 she said she thought that […]

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