The end of oral epics in Central Asia has been prophesied since the nineteenth century. With growing literacy in all parts of the world, oral traditions have become marginalized, and with the ever increasing pace of technical innovations, wide segments of the population have access to all kinds of entertainment, making the voice of the oral singer redundant, it would seem. Nevertheless, we can observe a surprising vitality of oral performance and oral traditions among the Kyrgyz. This paper discusses the transmission of the Kyrgyz epic tradition to the younger generation and the reasons why the epic of Manas plays such an important role for Kyrgyz cultural identity.

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