Although I’ve never been to Kyrgyzstan I’ve long wanted to go there. I initially became interested in the Central Asian region due primarily to its sheer obscurity relative to the rest of the continent. When you take an Asian Civ class, you're unlikely to find Tajikistan on the course syllabus.
Ten years ago, when Napster made it possible to expose oneself to music otherwise outside one’s reach, in addition to searching for digitized wax cylinders, I used to often type the names of Central Asian countries and see what treasures I could find. The music of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan proved very appealing to me but nothing from the region resonates with me more than Kyrgyz music. To my unschooled ears, there’s a musical echo of every people that passed along the silk trail and many of the nation's neighbors. I hear similarities with Turkmen, Kazakh, Mongolian, Russian and European Renaissance music… and even the shamanistic music of some Native Americans, whose ancestors inhabited Central and North Asia thousands of years ago.