Last night we enjoyed being hosted to a concert of Kazakh National Instruments. The violins we witnessed were inverted and played like cellos, the men on the dombras were rhythmic and the other pieces in the orchestra were outstanding. What was so amazing to see was the kobyz (qobuz) instrument that reminded me of the Chinese er-hu instrument. “Er” in Chinese means two and “hu” must mean string and the bow is attached under the two strings. This Kazakh instrument I witnessed in the middle section of the orchestra where the violas would typically play had a cavity in it, like the erhu but the bow was separate.
Where the cellos would typically sit in the orchestra, were the inverted violins that were played like cellos. There were actually four cellos in the back as well as BIG dombras and three bass fiddles. The orchestra conductor had a workout in the almost two hour concert with many numbers, one Tajik, one Spanish and several Russian. Two accordians played along with some wind instruments, the percussionists made their presence known. Two soloists, soprano and baritone, each did their own numbers in a classical style but using Kazakh words. Very artistically done, also several instrumental soloists.
We were very impressed with the concert and the orchestra apparently toured in the U.S. and got a standing ovation from their American audience at Carnegie Hall. The Kazakhs who were in attendance shouted out their approval especially when the dombra soloists did their numbers.