Adyghe (Circassian) Music

Traditional Adyghe songs by Baragun Vladimir  (Vladimir Baragunov)

Vladimir Baragun (Бэрэгъун Владимир) (1939-1998), Honoured Cultural Worker of the Russian Federation and People’s Artist of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, was one of the best singers of the 1970s and 80s in Circassia. Although he recorded many fine and memorable traditional and modern songs, his powerful operatic voice was best suited for ancient anthems. He documented and recorded a number of Pantheonic chants, including ‘Mezguashhe’ («МЭЗГУАЩЭ»; ‘Forest-Lady’). His wide Nart repertoire included an emotive rendering of ‘Nartizch Wered’ («НАРТЫЖЬ УЭРЭД»; ‘Song of the Ancient Narts’), which causes tingling sensations in the back of one’s head, ‘Ashemez yi Pshinalhe’ («АШЭМЭЗ И ПШЫНАЛЪЭ»; ‘Ashemez’s Melody’), ‘Badinoque yi Pshinalhe’ («БЭДЫНОКЪУЭ И ПШЫНАЛЪЭ»; ‘Badinoque’s Melody’), ‘Sosrique Maf’e Qeih’ («СОСРЫКЪУЭ МАФIЭ КЪЕХЬ»; ‘Sosrique Fetches Fire’), and many others. His heroic/historical repertory included ‘Senjeley yi Wered’ («СЭНДЖЭЛЕЙ И УЭРЭД»; ‘The Song of Prince Sanjalay’), in which he evokes the heroism of the mediæval prince-warrior.

КъардэнгъущI Зырамыку |  Ziramuk Kardengush

10 January, 1918 - 25 December, 2008
An outstanding Adyghe figure, National Artist of Kabardino-Balkaria, Honored Art Worker Kabardino-Balkaria Republic and the Republic of Adygheya.

Ziramuk Kardengush was one of the greatest Circassian bards of the 20th century. He died in December 2008, just shy of his 91st birthday.

He was not just a writer and originator of the collections of ancient and modern Adyghean (Circassian) National folk songs. First of all he was a protector-guard of Adyghean culture. During his life, Ziramuk Kardengush was busy with collecting and systematizing Nart tales, proverbs, sayings and old songs.


Ensemble Dzyu | Жъыу (Maykop, Adygheya)


Ensemble Bzerabze (Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria)


Bjamiy (Cyrillic: Бжамий) is a Circassian (Kabardian) folk group performing authentic Circassian music and dances of the Cacausus and Circassian Diaspora. It has toured various countries.

The name means "whistle" or "flute" in the Circassian language. It is a wooden instrument that has been used for music and communication since ancient times. Bjamiy is mentioned constantly in the Nart sagas:

“The flute is a musical instrument that occurs in our mythology too. Nart Ashemez’s flute was white on one side and black on the other. If he blew into the white side, there would be prosperity and if he blew into black side there would be famine. Our flutes are white on both sides. They heal patients, and invite healthy people to dance. Our songs & dances excite people. The flute, Shiqe Pshina, Pshina Digkhuakho, and pxhachich with Circassian accordion take our ancient melodies from the past to the future.”


Circassia • Sonic exploration of an ancient land by Collection Petites Planètes [Vincent Moon]


Nahush Charim

Circassian Music: Playlist of the Miscellaneous Variety

V​/​A - Khachesh: Circassian Sacred Space by Ored Recordings


Turkey Circassian Diaspora

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Transcultural Representation of Circassian Music in Mily Balakirev's Islamey by Anastassia Grankina

Transcultural Representation of Circassian Music in Mily Balakirev's Islamey: Oriental Fantasy (1869)

Université d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa, 2015.

Thesis (MA)--Université d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa, 2015

This thesis examines the context in which the Russian composer, M. Balakirev, used folk idioms to create a representation of Circassian musical culture in Islamey: Oriental Fantasy. It was composed for piano in 1869 after Balakirev's trip to the Caucasus during its colonization by the Russian Empire and it is an interesting example of a musical representation of the "Oriental." Based on Edward Said's theory of the Orientalism, this thesis examines the construction of Circassian stereotype as Russia's "Other". It presents the complex historical relations between Russians and Circassians and discusses evidence for treating Islamey as an example of an Orientalist Other, taken from several authors, including Balakirev himself. Ultimately, this thesis describes Balakirev's representation of Circassian culture and proposes reasons for his appropriation of folk music. It concludes by outlining the benefits of cultural exchanges between the Russian and Circassian nations that took place over the last century.

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