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23:27 | Aug 10 | 2011

Yakutsk Will Host International Congress of Khomus Music

Jaw-harp (khomus), symbol of the spiritual culture of the Olonkho Land, is used in more than 100 countries. There are 162 known modifications of khomus. With its 5000 years of history, the instrument is the same age as the Pyramids of Egypt. The more fascinating is that it is still being used. 

The khomus musicians
Today the Republic has over 50 khomus master makers with the craftsman certificate. There are only ten craftsmen of the international level, six of them are working. Revory Chemchoev, Roman Gotovtsev, Petr Osipov are recognized as the best craftsmen of the world’s oldest instrument.

The rebirth and spread of the Yakut khomus from the 1940-s is connected with the name of thousands traditional khomuses author – master Semen Gogolev. The specific feature of the Gogolev khomus is the simplicity of the lines with the classic details and proportions maintaining which makes the instrument “sing”. One of his khomuses is declared as a standard of the traditional Yakut khomus. A classic Gogolev khomus is recognized by a small metal spiral crossbar placed over the khomus circle. Besides the visual effect this detail serves as a “stiffening plate” giving a clear sound for the instrument.

Yakutia has a lot of genuine khomus music professionals. The Republic represents around 7000 stage performers playing this instrument. Three out of nine world famous consummate musicians live in Yakutia. 1/3 of the whole countryfolk practice playing the khomus. The interest towards Yakut musical instrument, performers and the craftsmen grows. The Yakut khomus has become a sort of a certain brand appreciated by the experts.

Activities of the center of khomus music

Many specialists from Russia and other parts of the world have a long lasting interest to the oldest music instrument playing culture. The USA held the I International Congress “Jaw-harp (khomus): Tradition and Modernity” in 1984. In 1991 Yakutia opened the II International Congress.

By the recommendation of this congress the Khomus Music International Centre was founded in 1992. The European, Asian and American khomusists creative and research community was organized step-by-step. There were opened national centers in Austria, France, Germany, Holland, Norway, Japan, the U.S., Hungary, and Switzerland; in Argentina and Taiwan since 2002. On the former Soviet Union – Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, in Bashkortostan, Republic of Tyva, in Altai Region there are branches supported by the State Government.

In 1990 in Yakutsk the Museum of Peoples of the World Khomus (Jaw-harp) was opened – the first museum dedicated to these musical instruments. The basis of the museum became a collection gathered by Professor Ivan Alekseev, the Khomus Music Centre President. Among the exhibits there are wooden jaw-harps from Thailand, Philippines, India, Mongolia, Tyva and others.

VII International Congress-Festival in Yakutsk

International Congresses of Khomus Music have a long history. The I Congress-Festival was held in 1984 in Iowa-City, USA. The main person who initiated and organized it was Frederick Crane, who had been studying khomus since 1955. The II International Congress-Festival took place in 1991 in Yakutsk. Subsequent Congresses have been held in various countries – Austria, Norway, Holland, Hungary.

The VII International Congress-Festival “Khomus in the World’s Cultural Space” will again be held in the capital. It will take place in the period from June 23 through 26 this year and bring together jaw-harp music performers from around the world. It is expected that a large number of foreign guests will come.