For more than ten centuries, the culture of the Kyrgyz people has found chief expression through their oral traditions. The epic Manas, a prized form of Kyrgyz oral tradition, is still performed today in both Kyrgyzstan and the Xinjiang region of China. Research on the epic singers known as manaschys, or singers of Manas, is therefore of great significance. Manaschys are talented singers who can perform epic songs both artistically and creatively. Rather than memorizing a text, the manaschy (also spelled manaschï, manasqi, etc.) has the ability to produce new versions of epic songs through the art of composition in performance. This paper focuses on six representative manaschys of the twentieth century.

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