Manaschi, or ‘Manas Tellers’, recite the great, centuries-old epic poem of the warrior Manas, chronicling the story of the Kyrgyz people. Recitals often last for days – or even weeks – as the rich oral history unfolds layer after layer. Tapping into the wisdom of the spirits, Manaschi recite in an animated, trance-like state an epic which is thought to be twenty times longer than Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey combined.
Featured in these photos are Kamil Mamadaliev, Mirlan Jumaliev, Rysbai Isakov, Tilek Asanov, Zamirbek Bayaliev and D. Sydykov. The photos were taken during the first full video recording (50 key episodes, 25 hours) of the great Manas Epic put together by the Aigine Cultural Research Center. Photographer: Cholponai Usubalieva-Grishuk