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Yakutsk, Sakha, Russia

Yakutsk, Sakha, Russia
Band World Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




Chyskyyrai is representative of a new generation of Sakha female singers. The art of her performance is inspired by her formative years, when she grew up surrounded by nature, and by the rich musical and storytelling heritage of the Sakha, as well as by modern theatrical and intellectual movements in the Republic of Yakutia.
Chyskyyrai (Valentina Romanova) was born and grew up in the village of Myndygai in Churapcha ulus. As a little girl Valentina wrote poetry and scripts for plays based on episodes from village life and drew on Sakha mythology and folk tales. She staged them in her home, performing for family, friends, and neighbours.
After finishing high school, she worked as a milkmaid. Then she moved to the capital, Yakutsk, to study performance in the well-known Platonov Folkloric Workshop, and began participating in the Sakha National Theatre. There she met with the celebrated Sakha female poet Korsunnakh, a meeting that led to the beginning of Chyskyyrai the performer. Since 1998 Chyskyyrai is constant member of the Sakha National Theatre.
She has visited London twice, as a guest at the SOAS University. During stays she has recorded CD’s with English musicians. Last years she performed at Cross Culture Warsaw Festival, Brave Festival (Wroclaw) and Rozstaje Festival (Cracow), Globaltica (Gdynia)
In 2008 she was appointed to a the best solist at Sayan Ring, the most famous Festival of Ethnic Music in Siberia. In spring 2010 Chyskyyrai is going to USA with tour promoting culture of her country.
- own materials

"Saturday Night on BBC London 94.9 FM"

21 May 05
James Maycock and Chyskyyrai

The acapella Siberian singer Chyskyyrai on last night's show. What was that about?!

I don't listen to Charlie's show on a regular basis but it caught me in the bath, with the radio on the other side of the bathroom - unfortunately.

As Chyskyyrai let rip, my face distorted with incredulity at these unearthly sounds. Surely this wasn't music by any stretch of the imagination? I tried to remain open-minded, but it went from bad to worse.
Dilemma: should I sit it out, or trail wet footprints across the room to switch it off? I got the gut impression the joke was on us and she was waiting for someone to say "Hang on - you're having a laugh aren't you?" To which she would reply "Fair dues - you got me."

Emperor's new clothes? Or am I wrong?
As I write this on Monday morning, Marcia's message has already been left in the section called Howard's World Views in the feedback forum at our website. Marcia represents a substantial proportion of our audience - people who happen to share the same living space as somebody else who regularly chooses to listen to my Saturday Night programme.
If you had any kind of reaction, for or against, please post it in the Feedback forum at this site rather than in emails to me. It's more fun to see the fur fly in public.
When my London-based Siberian friend Misha Maltsev phoned a few weeks ago me to ask if I would be interested in featuring an authentic Shamanic singer from Yakutia called Chyskyyrai, I happily said yes, while knowing that this might represent a challenge to even the most faithful of my loyal listeners. In years gone by, I would have worried that I might lose some of them forever, if I made a decision they strongly disagreed with, but I've learned that most of them are more forgiving than that, and will usually come back.
However, I had not realised at the time I booked Chyskyyrai that my programme would be up against the Eurovision song contest on TV. So the London audience had an extreme choice, between several hours watching 24 singers caught in a time-warp of eighties disco music, or hearing an unaccompanied vocalist who, in the space of four minutes, sounded not only like at least five different singers, but also like several animals, both wild and domestic.
I must admit, I would not choose to listen to Chyskyyrai (pronounced 'Chiss-ker-ray') very often, or for very long. But I was riveted by each of her two explosions of sound, and don't regret making the invitation. It was like trying to keep standing up in a whirlwind - challenging, but exhilarating. Was any punk singer so daring? Maybe it helped to be able to see her - you'll get an idea of how she looks from Philips Ryalls' great portrait, when it is posted on the website in the few days.
I don't think our other guest, James Maycock, will ever forget the experience. I never saw a man's jaw drop so low. I first became aware of James about five years ago, when he put together several excellent compilations of soul, funk and Latin classics for the Harmless label, of which Stand Up and Be Counted (with its iconic cover picture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising gloved hands at the Mexico Olympics) and I'm a Good Woman were outstanding. More recently, James has been principal researcher and assistant producer on TV documentaries about James Brown, Gil Scot Heron and Nat King Cole, and he is on the production team of the current BBC-2 TV series, Deep Soul. As this ecstatically well-received series goes out from 8.25 to 9.25 on Saturday Night, I've been otherwise engaged and missed it, but I look forward to catching up with DVDs later.
The Ping Pong turned into the kind of encounter first envisaged when I conceived the idea, ranging across a lot of genres and with a minimum of biographical/career sidetracks. It was about the music, and the music was good. James played records he first heard in Madrid (a rare sixties soul 45 by the Exits) and New York (a lovely reworking by Willie Rosario of an early Nat Cole song, Calypso Blues), made a welcome diversion to Benin for the great guitar workout by T.P Orchestre, and gave us a taste of the last instalment of Deep Soul with Mary J Blige, the first time she's been played in this show.
The programme is broadcast from 8 to 10 every Saturday Night on BBC London 94.9, on digital (DAB) radio and on the web at where, as always, this show can be heard for the next seven days until it’s replaced by next week’s.
This site contains a full listing of all the upcoming gigs mentioned on the show, stretching for several months ahead, which is displayed by activating the "What's Going On" link on the menu bar above. If you have pertinent information regarding live music in the London area, send it straight to Alan Finkel
Your comments, questions and corrections are welcome in the Feedback forum, link above on the navigation bar, where there are separate topics for reactions by listeners to each of the current weekly shows, on BBC London and the World Service.
A selected archive of programmes is available at the Mondomix site - - where this year’s shows with Waldemar Bastos and Toumani Diabaté are ‘hidden’ behind the menu bar Choose a Programme.
Four shows from last year are also available – Ping Pongs with David Byrne (April), Aiwa (September) and Mavis Staples (Christmas Day) and the live broadcast from WOMAD Reading (July) featuring Tinariwen, Laye Sow, Malouma and Carolina Herrera.
I also present a weekly 26-minute world music show The Sound of the World on the BBC World Service, broadcast four times a week in a 24-hour cycle, Tuesday-to-Thursday. Exact times vary from region to region throughout the world.
In the UK, the programme can be heard four times throughout the day on digital radio, and at 2.30 every Wednesday morning on Radio 4. And it is available On Demand online for seven days.

The playlist is posted in two places: at the World Service’s own site and in the feedback forum of mine.
The link at the top of this page leads you to the On Demand archive for the World Service shows.
- James Maycock (website BBC London)


1. MYSTERIAS - 2007
2. SIBERIA EXTREME - with Tim Hodgkinson and Ken Hyder
3. CHYSKYYRAI VOCAL EVOCATIONS of Sakha-Yakutia, Siberia SOAS 2008 recorded with English musician Tim Hodgkinson, Ken Hyder, Asaf Sirkis, Jon Dobie, Theo Scipio i Z’EVem



Hundred words biography

she was born in a village Myndygai, 1971
she wrote scripts and performed with sister, childhood

end of XX century
she graduated high school
she worked as a milkmaid
she continued education in the Platonov Folkloric Workshop
she met poet Korsunnakh
she started to perform
she became a member of Sakha National Theatre, 1998

XXI century
she has visited SOAS University London
she performed at few European festivals
she has recorded three albums
she was appointed to a the best solist at Sayan Ring, 2008

Chyskyyrai, developing national tradition,
becomes vanguard person between Sakha artists