Folk (Musical Instruments)

As mentioned before, many folk instruments have disappeared in Kalmykia being either relegated to museum shelves or left only as pictures on the pages of historical documents. As a result, today the number of instruments in active use is minimal, with dombra being the most popular. Dombra, a long-necked string instrument, is kept in many Kalmyk families and is used as a solo as well as an ensemble instrument. Khuur, a fiddle instrument, is used less often.

In Kalmykia the revival of musical instruments began in the 1980s. In the Elista School of Arts of Chonkushov a class was opened to teach people how to play traditional instruments, including dombra, yochin (dulcimer), yatkh (zither), khuchir (bowed musical instrument), morin khuur (horsehead fiddle), and limb (flute). The end of the 1980s also saw the establishment of famous orchestras and ensembles such as the National Orchestra of Kalmykia, Tyulpan, Oirat, and Jangar, which are still active.

Alena Lidzhieva, Dombra Melodies