Singing the Plate Song in Uzbekistan: Katta Ashula

Singing the Plate Song in Uzbekistan: Katta Ashula

In Uzbekistan, traditional folk songs are known as Ashula. Ashula reflects the diverse influences that shaped the region’s music as well as the inner feelings, hopes, loves and attitudes of the natives. One of the types of Ashula is called Katta Ashula, which literally means big or great song. The tradition of Katta Ashula is popular in the Fergana Valley, where many languages and cultures come together. Folk singers from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have mastered this traditional style. It requires special training, a strong voice and the ability to improvise - which is illustrated in this video. Read More


Dancing Across Uzbekistan: An Interview with Expert Helene Eriksen (video)

Dancing Across Uzbekistan: An Interview with Expert Helene Eriksen (video)

Every few years, internationally respected dance ethnologist Helene Eriksen leads a group of enthusiasts to a different region of the world to explore its traditional dances, costumes and music. A teacher, dancer and choreographer of women’s traditional dances of the Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, Helene has teamed up with MIR for her 2016 trip, Dance Tour Through Uzbekistan. This inspired tour is open to anyone who wants to learn about – or already loves – the vivid multicolored garments, graceful dance movements and characteristic music of Uzbekistan. On this tour, participants will: • Attend a presentation of traditional Uzbek silk clothing. • Visit a small private museum to hear typical Central Asian instruments. • Learn to make Uzbekistan’s signature dish, plov, in a family home. • Learn Central Asian dances from a renowned Uzbek dancer and teacher at private master classes in Bukhara, culminating in a public performance, a centerpiece of the program. Intrigued by the itinerary of this one-of-a-kind tour, we sent these questions to her to learn more. Read More



The Art of Chugirma: Handmade Hats in Khiva, Uzbekistan

The Art of Chugirma: Handmade Hats in Khiva, Uzbekistan

On a narrow street close to the main gate of Khiva's Old Town, visitors come across a workshop. Here craftsmen make the original pride and joy of the area – the furry wool hats known as chugirma. A seventh-generation usta, master, Shokir, and his student-son, Amin, create chugirmas for visitors at the shop. Read More


Watch a Fashion Show of Swirling Silk in Samarkand, Uzbekistan (VIDEO)

Watch a Fashion Show of Swirling Silk in Samarkand, Uzbekistan (VIDEO)

A Moscow-trained designer, Valentina Romanenko, has transformed her traditional Uzbek home into a workshop and display area. In this intimate setting, decorated with brilliant Uzbek carpets and wall hangings, she creates and shows her elegant modern fashions made with traditional fabrics and techniques. Enjoy this short clip from Romanenko’s studio, featuring her sophisticated fashions. Read More


Dancing in Khiva, Uzbekistan: The Khalfi Family (VIDEO)

Dancing in Khiva, Uzbekistan: The Khalfi Family (VIDEO)

The revolving troupe of performers in the Khalfi family (featured in our video) has been singing, dancing, and drumming for years now in Khiva, Uzbekistan. As the younger generation grows up and moves on to other pursuits, there always seem to be more little ones ready to join their relatives and add to the fun of the performances. Read More



Navruz: Celebrating Spring in Central Asia and Beyond

Navruz: Celebrating Spring in Central Asia and Beyond

Navruz is celebrated from Tashkent to Tehran, London to L.A., Bukhara to Bloomington, from Samarkand to Seattle. It's a joyful time of eating, singing, dancing and celebrating the return of spring and the beginning of a new year. Read More