Turkmenistan: US helps preserve traditional music recordings for posterity

ASHGABAT (TCA) — U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Kami Witmer on November 28 celebrated the completion of a joint project with the National Conservatory of Turkmenistan to restore and digitize recordings of traditional Turkmen music. In 2012 the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat awarded a grant to the National Conservatory to help preserve endangered music for posterity and use in music schools and other educational institutions, the Embassy said.

The U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat has worked with the Government of Turkmenistan and other partners to conduct 25 cultural and historical preservation projects under the auspices of the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, or AFCP. Through this program, the U.S. Embassy has helped preserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage, including folk music traditions, ancient Silk Road sites, centuries-old crafts and carpets, and Turkmen manuscripts.

As Chargé d’Affaires Kami Witmer said at the event, “We know that you cannot plan for the future unless you understand and learn from the past,” and the project is “a great example of what the bilateral relationship between Turkmenistan and the United States can achieve.”

The collection was in urgent need of restoration due to the deterioration of the original ferromagnetic film and vinyl. As a result of this project, the musical collection—the only one of its kind in Turkmenistan—has been completely preserved and digitized for further study and dissemination. It includes recordings by famous Turkmen artists like Mustak Aymedov, Patyshaguly Girmanov, Odeniyaz Nobatov, and Gurt Yakubov.

In this spirit of cooperation, the U.S. Embassy and the National Conservatory also announced a holiday concert for the evening of Saturday, December 23, to include musicians from both the United States and the National Conservatory. The event will take place at the National Music and Drama Theatre named after Magtymguly.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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