qazaq culture

buy tickets

English Қазақша Русский Turkçe 中国语文科 العربية Español Français
/ Article
ASSEL IMAYO: making dreams come true and inspiring others
Assel Imayo is not just a musician, she is a cultural ambassador of Kazakhstan’s musical heritage. Her new wonderful project, called “Kazakh music from the swaddles” and the “Qazaq MusicBox for Babies” album were recorded in Japan.

From the first steps in the musical world, Assel Imayo, a graduate of the Kazakh National Academy of Music, has shown a talented command of the violin. Since 2000, she began her professional career, becoming an artist of the Variety Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster of the orchestra of the Kulyash Baiseitova Opera House in Astana. Her skills have not been ignored, and since 2005, she has joined the West Kazakhstan Orchestra under the leadership of the outstanding Kazakh virtuoso violinist Marat Bisengaliyev. In 2012, she became the first violin in his symphony orchestra in Almaty.

However, this was just the beginning for Assel. In 2018, she established the “Art-Mirai” private foundation with a special mission for preserving and promoting the Kazakh academic music in the world, as well as to preserve a cultural heritage (among the foundation’s projects: the organization of three Competitions of the Kazakh composers, the Altyn Art cultural and informational magazine; the MusicBookShop music showcase, etc.). 

Assel Imayo: “On a global scale, the Art-Mirai projects, my projects are tiny pebbles, but they are tangible, real, and they can fill the space. I am proud of them and I thank all those who help me to create and cut them. We can do a lot of things together...”

A range of her activities covers not only the performances on stage, but also, the promotion of Kazakh musical culture. She made a documentary about her professor, B. S. Kozhamkulova, and republished the collections of the “Chrestomathy of Kazakh violin music”. She has released a number of the collections for Kazakh music as well (“Shashu” – for children, "Arman Asuyu” – a collection of plays by the Kazakh composers, “Famous songs of the Kazakh music” – a collection of popular melodies, etc.). Therefore, she is an organizer of recording sessions for Kazakh academic music. 

In addition to her creative activities, Assel continues to develop intensively in the field of education. She pursued her Master’s degree in Art History in 2011, and completed her education with a PhD degree in 2023. The very routine like work, patience, perseverance, personal charm and eternal love for music lies behind all this success. 

But, there is a project that is especially close to Assel, called “Fairytales of magic violin”. This is a book, where the musical melodies come to life in words and illustrations, linking the past and present of Kazakh musical culture. Through the combination of sounds and fairytales, Assel wants to remind the Kazakh citizens of the rich heritage of Kazakh classical music. In the colorful book, you can read the fairytales with children, based on the “Karlygash”, “Ak Sisa” and “Yeligai” classic melodies in Kazakh, Russian and English languages, perform these melodies by notes and listen to them via a direct link on YouTube channel of the “Art-Mirai” foundation. By the way, Assel’s book can be found and purchased at the “Astana Eurasian Book Fair” international book fair in Astana.

Assel Imayo: “My book may seem like a drop in the sea of diversity and riches of the book fair, nevertheless, my “Modest baby” is not inferior to others, either in the brightness of the cover or in the colorfulness of the illustrations, or even more so, in the uniqueness of the content. 

In the kaleidoscope of projects that I have been involved in until present, this is the most dearly loved one. It is a part of the “Magic violin” multiproject and one of its beautiful results. And, it has its own little big mission – the "Magic violin" and its fairytales – a little book in the heart of which, Kazakh music sounds. For the children. For my baby daughter, for my future grandchildren, for all the children of  today and tomorrow”. 

Since 2020, Assel has been living in Japan with her Japanese family, and she is still doing what she loves. Assel Imayo is not just a musician, she is a cultural diplomat of Kazakhstan’s musical heritage. Between 2021 and 2023, she gave more than 100 solo concerts in Japan. Her performances are often the subject of local media attention, which indicates her influence and popularity.

Assel Imayo: "I give the concerts here quite often. My repertoire is very extensive. I play both a classical music, which is loved by the Japanese people, and the popular music, both Japanese as well as the world music. And, of course, Kazakh. 

At the last concert in early April, I enjoyed playing the popular classics. I shaked myself up and cheered up! At present, there is no much time to study, but you still have to find it. Thanks to the performances, you don’t let yourself relax. You buy the new strings, change the hair on the bow, take out the sketches and caprices, and run the scale.

During my studies, I did not like a technical exam – when I had to take the scales and sketches. Currently, they are the ones you enjoy with pleasure in those infrequent hours alone with the violin.

Every time after the concerts, I thank not only the audience, but also, my parents for buying me a violin once and taking the time (in times of crisis, the power of persuasion) to pursue my musical education”.

A new creative initiative and wonderful project of a talented violinist is called “Kazakh music from the swaddles”, from the “Qazaq MusicBox for Babies” album. The sound is like from a music box, with the original rustle of a vinyl record, creating a magical unique atmosphere. It feels like these recordings were created with soul and warmth, because Assel has recently become a mother again. Among the collected beautiful melodies, there is a popular song “Karlygash” (“Swallow”) by Akhmet Zhubanov. 

Assel Imayo: “I am very excited about the idea that I can give my little daughter, a Japanese citizen, something that will connect her with Kazakhstan from birth and even before it.

Nowadays, there are a lot of Japanese childish songs and eternal classics around her, at home, in a few (so far) toys, in mobile, at public places, as well as the children’s rooms. Time will pass very quickly and she will be absorbed by society. Her mother’s melodies will become a thing of the past, but once upon a time, when she hears the melody of “Yeligai” or “Balkhadisha”, she will recognize it, feel something native and warm up in her soul, even after many years...”

The “Qazaq MusicBox for Babies” album can be found on YouTube, Spotify and other music platforms.

21 April, 2024
Share this article: