During our recent trip to Almaty in Kazakhstan for a gig, we had the opportunity to record local band Aldaspan playing the dombyra. The long-necked two-stringed acoustic lute is Kazakhstan’s nationally recognised instrument and Aldaspan were the first to electrify them, so now mostly play electric dombyras. We recorded them playing both acoustic and electric.
Aldaspan are the brainchild of Nurzhan Toishy, who in the late 1980’s envisaged the idea of an electric dombyra and forming a band to use the instrument in a ‘heavy rock’ style.
We hooked up with the band and had the pleasure of recording Baha Zhelderbayen on rhythm dombyra, Shamshaddin Omar on bass dombyra and Maksat Khasanov on solo dombyra.
Covering all sorts of improvised traditional and heavy experimental styles, the three of them left us truly inspired by their speed and dexterity on the customised dombyras. And amongst all the heavy rhythm and riffage, Baha took time to let us capture his skills on mouth harp, suffering a messy cut and blood covered lips in the process! He also gave us his harmonic throat singing – similar to a Tibetan monk – which really did leave us speechless!
Check out Aldaspan’s releases and free downloads on their website www.aldaspan.com
Massive thanks to Vladimir and Alexandr for the introduction! And big thanks to Kamil Begzhanov and Misha A-Tron for their help in the studio!