Manas singer Jusup Mamay remembered

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Manas singer Jusup Mamay [File photo]


All Manaschis think such dreams are providence -- only the "chosen" ones can comprehend the knowledge in Manas.

In the summer of 1958 when Jusup Mamay turned 40, he publicly sang Manas for the first time. It lasted four days and three nights. He went on to become a popular Manaschi and once sang non-stop for over 20 days.

Jusup Mamay's own version of Manas consisted of eight chapters, over 230,000 lines and more than 20 million words -- 19 times the length of Homer's epic Odyssey. It took over a year to sing it from beginning to end.

During his life, he sang Manas completely on three occasions, one of which took place in the 1970s and was recorded on 17 tapes. The tapes were released in 1995, which was designated the year of Manus by the United Nations.

Lang Ying, former head of the Institute of Ethnic Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, participated in the recording. "Thanks to Jusup Mamay, China has the world's most complete and informative collection of materials about the epic Manas," Lang said.

Jusup Mamay moved his family to Urumqi in 1980, but he was never able to leave his hometown behind. He moved back to Akqi in 2000.

His second wife Aytebvbv passed away soon after they returned, which caused Jusup Mamay huge pain.

Biographer Adel Jumaturdu said Jusup Mamay was left lonely.

He was buried in the family graveyard in Merksh with his parents, brothers and ancestors dating back nine generations.

Today, Jusup Mamay's version of Manas has spread to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan, and been translated into English, German and other languages.

Turganal, Jusup Mamay's great grandson is 20 years old, but he has been learning to sing Manas for over 13 years. He spent four and a half hours reciting the epic every day during Jusup Mamay's last years.

"I will keep doing this. Maybe I will never become a master as great as my great grandfather, but my life will never be separated from Manas," Turganal said.

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