Turkmenistan’s marital opiate of the masses?

Like the sun and the moon rising and setting over the Garagum çöli (Karakum desert), Turkmen life is characterized by cycles — and noontime is marked by the wedding. When a Turkmen man comes back from army duty and officially begins adulthood, he is married off by his parents. Or, when a family purchases a new house, they shall often host a wedding, as a way of celebrating the change. Marriage is an industry in our country: wedding facilities to conduct wedding ceremonies and wedding saloons for wedding parties with wedding singers, and even wedding palaces that have all of…

You’re welcome in Turkmenistan, Prof. Habermas

NewEurasia’s Annasoltan has become somewhat well-known in media studies because of her work on Turkmenistan’s mediascape. I’ve been reading some of the things she’s written, like “State of Ambivalence: Turkmenistan in the Digital Age” (which I think ended up being cited by Freedom House) and her really cyberutopian (but very inspiring) post “OtherTube, PseudoBook, and the fate of the world in Turkmenistan”. The Americans always say they want to add their “two cents” to an issue; I want to add my two teňňesi. It is my belief that, of all the factors which contribute to the development of a country,…

Do we really need Turkmen singers in Eurovision?

As I intimated in my last post, Turkmen music in general, and Pop in particular, is still very much at the imitation stage of development, as our singers “borrow” famous songs illegally, adapt them, then sing them as though it were their own. It’s thievery, yes, and it’s a pity our regime’s actions have compelled them to such acts, but precisely for that reason, I cannot condemn them. Besides, it’s fitting somehow to our tradition of the master-disciple (halypa-shagirt), as the neophyte learns from the experienced singer. Still, the resultant music can sometimes be hilariously bad – badly mixed, badly…

Turkmen on the turntables: the çyraçy vs. the aksakal

In my last post, I talked about the political potential of Turkmen Hip Hop. What I meant by that wasn’t that the music is going to mobilize the young generation to rise up against their government — maybe it could, if the çyraçy ideal (fast cars, fast money, fast women) flounders against the hard realities of our country’s daily life – but that the authorities should listen to it, to understand the desires of the youth. Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen, but not just because our leaders seem too afraid to listen to anyone else. Hip Hop will…