This article continues our series of “Travel Notes” by the folk musician and journalist Maria Kirilova. Maria kindly suggested writing travel notes for tyva.me during a trip to Tuva this year for the celebration of Shagaa – the Tuvan New Year. Maria will share her insights about the sternly beautiful winter of Tuva, how the Tuvinians survive in the -40 degree frosts, how the Shagaa is celebrated, and what is sung in the winter folk songs.
Author: Maria Kirilova
Greetings, lovers of Tuva! This is probably my last pre-trip note. I am now ready for the trip having booked a hostel in Kyzyl and celebrated the band leader’s and my birthday with a loud concert featuring Arthur Berkut, a local musician. Now that everything including travel is booked, we are ready to embark on our expedition!
Today, according to Google, the weather in Kyzyl is only (yes, ‘only’) -19 degrees. I refuse to go unprepared and have sorted myself some seasonally decorated felt boots! Other body armour included a lot of woollen sweaters, thermals, scarves, doublets … the list goes on and on.
Our agenda for the trip has been written up, among the appointments, I will visit the café-yurt “Tos-Karak”, where I will learn more about national Tuvan cuisine, then the celebration of Shagaa at the shepherds’ camp, the meeting with the shaman and participation in the workshops on the game on national instruments from the Centre of Tuvan culture. Of course, I have to visit the National Museum. We’ve done our best to pack our agenda like a can of sardines. We are going back to Abakan on the 19th and so there is some left for impromptu meetings and events. Everything I find interesting, I will try to report on with as much detail as possible!
I got a bunch of letters asking me whether I will perform on stage during my trip to Tuva, and the answer is sadly no. I am travelling without my band and I would only want to be on stage with them. My solo program is still being developed. That being said, I am sure to meet a few fans along the way and am always open to new acquaintances.
I also want to thank everyone who has helped me, left feedback or simply follows these little ‘Travel Notes’. Separately, I want to thank the Ministry of Communications of Tuva, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tuva and personally Aldar Tamdin for their support. Every offer of help or new idea makes my trip better, and my “Notes” are more interesting.
PS: I am going to participate in the TV program “Running on Tuva” by OVAA TV! Very excited!
Always with you and with love to Tuva,
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