The multimedia project was created by the Paris based Uzbek director – Saodat Ismailova in 2017. This production was inspired by the Epic story of the Central Asian Amazons. In this play, young Central Asian female artists present songs and stories from a male-dominated Turkic tradition; they recount the epic of forty girls – teen-age Central Asian Amazons. “Qyrq Qyz” is a successful project of the Aga Khan Music Initiative and has already performed in many countries.
Across the steppes of Central Asia, modern bards still sing the tale of Gulaim, the teenage warrior who defended ancient clans from Eastern invaders with the help of her qyrq qyz, or 40 girls, Amazons of Turkic legend. Enduring for centuries in a male-dominated epic tradition, this powerful matriarchal narrative comes to full-throated life in the Aga Khan Music Initiative’s multimedia retelling, conceived and directed by internationally acclaimed Uzbek filmaker and artist Saodat Ismailova.
As the next generation of Turkic female bards sing Gulaim’s legend — accompanying themselves on their traditional instruments—Ismailova’s mesmerizing film, scored by the acclaimed Tashkent-based composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, weaves an emotional tapestry of legendary female power.
Directed by Saodat Ismailova
Soundtrack and live music score by Dimitri Yanov-Yanovsky
Cinematography by Carlos Casas
Scenography by Kamilla Kurmanbekova
Costumes by Hilola Sher
Lighting design and choreography by Séverine Rième
Actress: Gulaim, Aysanem Yusupova
Raushan Orazbaeva – Music director, qobyz – Kazakhstan
Makhabat Kobogonova – vocal, kyl-kiyak, choor, chopo-choor, jaw harps – Kyrgyzstan
Arailym Omirbekova – vocal, dombyra – Kazakhstan
Saltanat Yersultan – vocal, jetigen – Kazakhstan
Gumisay Berdikhanova – vocal, girjek – Karakalpakstan
Gumshagul Bekturganova – vocal, dutar – Karakalpakstan
Aziza Davronova – vocal, dutar, frame drum – Uzbekistan
Tokzhan Karatai – vocal, qobyz – Kazakhstan
Alibek Kabdurakhmanov – percussion, chang – Uzbekistan
The official page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/qyrqqyz/