Song with History – Yapuray

Yapuray song is known to almost every resident of Kazakhstan. It has been rehashed a lot of times by pop singers, folk choir and even Kazakhstan’s jazz bands. Meanwhile, favorite song of the steppe does not lose ground and remains a staple example of artistic wealth of the Kazakh folk music.

Yuriy Aravin 

Evidence of its widespread appreciation is now and then variable in their nature versions of prevalence, either melodious lyric outpouring or active and even combative mood. However, the former is the most well-known and has gained a plenty of performing adaptations, treatments and even an impressive development in a large-scale symphonic score. And all these are possible to a large extent due to a record and publication made by A.V.Zatayevich in 1925 in Orenburg, in his collection ‘1000 songs of the Kazakh folk’ which became a kind of encyclopedia of the Kazakh folk music.

In the record of the ethnographer it is titled ‘Ya, Pirim-ay!’ and is translated with exclamation ‘Oh my God!’, in particular not an address to the God but an exclamation of delight from contemplation of beauties of the native nature: expanse of lake fascinating with its perfection of a mirror reflection. In his comments to that version, Zatayevich points out that it is a ‘women’s song’ performed ‘smoothly and tenuto.’
Meanwhile, the second version, according to the folk musician who reported it, ‘was sung in a cavalry by the Kazakhs who in 1920-1921 opposed gangs of bandits in Ural Province’ and it was performed ‘boldly and strenuously’. That performing version did not get further widespread use and remained only as one of versions of a free interpretation of the popular melody. As for its first version, Yapuray has become one of favorite lyric songs not only in everyday life but it has also been included into repertoire of a lot of philharmonic artists. The first professional composers deriving rich thematic material from folklore publications of A.V.Zatayevich paid their attention to the song as well. Thus, in 1933 B.G.Yerzakovich made its very successful treatment for fortepiano and further in 1945 created on its basis a cycle of variations that were successfully added to the repertoire of our piano players. There was successful experience of other instrumental and even orchestral treatments of folk song Yapuray, including recently heard Symphonic Play of R.Salavatov.

Meanwhile, the most impressive symphonic interpretation that causes surprise is its sounding in ‘Symphonic Dances’ of Sergey Rakhmaninov, the last piece of the great Russian composer created in New York in the far 1940. It is a deeply tragic piece – a look of sorrow on the whole spent life. In the middle section of the first part there is a distinctive Russian melody named by the composer as a ‘topic of the distant native land.’ But there is something striking!  However, everyone, who knows Kazakh folk music would without fail recognize in this melody popular folk song Yapuray. For the time being we have not established yet how Yapuray had become known to S.Rakhmaninov. This topic deserves special research but fact of surprising commonness of the ‘topic of distant native land’ in Symphonic ‘Dances’ and Kazakh folk song Yapuray is indisputable. This once again evidences the relations that make kin our musical cultures and facilitate deep mutual understanding.

Specially for you we have collected various variations of Yapuray song. You decide how the folk track sounds in a modern adaptation, who played the best version.

1. QazaqLounge - Yapuray (performed by a choir of boys from Akhmet ZHubanov School) 
2. BATYR - Yapuray  
3. iFLY - Yapuray  
4. The Magic of Nomads - Yapuray 
5. Bekbolat Tleukhan - Yapuray 
6. Garifulla Kurmangaliyev - Yapuray 
7. Yermek Serkebayev - Yapuray 
8. Nurzhan Kalzhan - Yapuray 
9. Rishat Abdullin - Yapuray 
10. Roksonaki - Yapuray 
11. Shaba - Yapuray 

circle.png Yuriy Aravin,  
musicologist, member of the Union of Composers of the Republic of Kazakhstan,
Honored Worker of Arts of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


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