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Revue des Mondes Musulmans et de la Méditerranée




Université de Provence

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In April 1915, student-journalist Khaireddin Bolghanbai reported for the Muslim newspaper Qazaq on a recent literary-cultural evening held by the Orenburg [Muslim] Student Aid Society to collect money to aid wounded soldiers. The cultural evening brought together amateur performers from the city’s Tatar, Bashkir, and Kazakh ethnic communities, and they performed to a sold-out house. In addition to the usual audience of urban youth, the event attracted people from the surrounding villages and even “elderly women with scarves on their heads and old men in winter hats, people the likes of which had never been seen in the Orenburg theater” (Bolghanbai, 2009 : 61). One of the highlights of the evening was a singing performance by two women :

After Argyn, the Qazaq women Gainizhamal Dulatova and Zhangyl Qaiyrbaeva came out on stage and sang “Oh, My Poor Country” and “Kanderghazi.” They received loud applause. The audience listened to the songs with particular attention and afterwards shouted “bis !” [encore]. These two women both appeared on stage in Kazakh skirts sewn tightly about the waist and flared at the hem. These women, though they had never appeared in front of a large audience before, performed with great exuberance.

At previous literary and cultural evenings, Muslim women have never come out on stage and performed such lengthy songs. For this reason, on this occasion, our ladies carried the evening (Bolghanbai, 2009 : 62).