THE EPIC OF JANGAR - A HEROIC EPIC OF THE WESTERN MONGOLS AND THE TRADITION OF ITS TELLING
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The Epic of Jangar, the heroic epic of the Western Mongols, is recognized as a masterpiece of the Kalmyk oral storytelling. The many-centuries-old epic cycle, believed to reflect Kalmyk nation's fight for their national identity has gained interest of the Western scholars. The long lasting research among the Kalmyks brought information on how the epic was transmitted by generations, forming a class of the storytellers, the so-called Jangarchi. Their repertoire often varied in its linguistic layer forming many different versions of the epic. Recitation of the songs was connected with different rituals and beliefs, accompanied with diversity of musical patterns and instruments. As late as the beginning of the nineteenth century their repertoire was being recorded and brought to the Western world. This in turn led to preserving this gradually fading cultural heritage.
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