Traditional Altai stories, recovered from elders, told by Altai throat-singers, and visually depicted using exquisite sand-painting, are ready to be published on CDs in Russian and Altai. English versions are currently being translated. These CDs are a breakthrough in making sacred Altai lore accessible not only to ethnologists and visitors, but to Altai children as well. These stories are a critical link to maintaining traditional Altai culture.
"The group has worked for free for almost six months, and they would continue to work so," said project leader Svetlana Katynova. "Thank you for your contribution. It makes publication possible, so the project will be self-sustaining through sale of CDs."
They are finishing "Wisdom of the Altai - from time immemorial." Now our group will work on a new project: "The Cradle of the Mother Umai" - "Umai-Ene Cabaye", dedicated to the patroness of women and children. "The image of this deity is very common in the Turkic world," Svetlana said, "but the Altai people have the most beautiful myths."
When I wrote last, our Altai project leader Svetlana Katynova and her colleague Zhanna An were gathering the resources to make video presentations of Altai legends that Svetlana had documented by interviewing Altai elders.
They were in the process of contracting with some of Altai's world-famous vocal artists to tell the stories in Russian and Altai languages. Two of these recordings have now been made.
The visual part of the video is being produced with a remarkable process called "sand painting." The images are formed by the artist moving around sand that has been spread across a back-lit screen. The fluidity and expressiveness of the medium is delightful. A screen shot of a work-in-progress is shown above. The artist's hand is visible in the lower right quadrant, making the crane's wings.
Svetlana has received some government funding for this project, but unfortunately not enough to do all of the legends that they would like to present. Thank you for your contribution, which gets our team incrementally closer to this important documentation.