Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Irina Duskulova / Ирина Дускулова

Ethno-pop with lyrics in Yukaghir? Now I truly have heard everything. Only a month ago I wouldn't even think that one day I'll post anything like this here, even if I've posted quite a lot of Mari and Komi ethno-pop before. However, these two languages, albeit endangered, are still spoken by hundreds of thousands native speakers, while both varieties of Yukaghir are spoken only by a couple of hundred people (mostly elderly). Yet there is modern music in this language, even if I managed to find only a couple of songs.

Yukaghir languages once were spoken all over the vast expanses of Eastern Siberia, but they were replaced by Yakut and Tungusic languages almost everywhere over the last millenium. The culture of Yukaghirs has some remarkably archaic traits (i.e. some remnants of matriarchy), which are thought to be the legacy of very ancient inhabitants of Siberia. Yukaghir languages have no apparent affinity to any other language family, although they do have some similarities to Uralic, Tungusic, and other Paleo-Siberian languages. A distant relationship to Uralic (Finno-Ugric & Samoyedic) languages had been proposed by several linguists, but it's far from proven. Out of the linguists whose works I've read, Vladimir Napolskikh is a supporter, and Ante Aikio is a critic. I'm not competent enough to judge on this matter, but from what I know about Uralic and Yukaghir languages, it isn't hard to believe that they're connected in some way. In particular, these Yukaghir songs remind me of Mari ethno-pop for some reason, and the singer herself reminds me of Marina Sadova :)

Now, a few words about her. Irina Duskulova was born on 17 June 1992 in Nelemnoye, a small settlement in Northeastern Siberia which is one of the few places where the Yukaghir culture and language are still alive to some extent. She's a niece of a well-known Yukaghir writer and poet Gennady Dyachkov, and apparently has inherited some literary talent from him, since she writes most of the lyrics for her songs by herself. She's also a winner of numerous local beauty contests, and has appeared in a music video filmed in Nelemnoye - the very first MV for an Yukaghir song:

These two songs are the only ones in Yukaghir I know. I could find another two songs of her in Yakut, and one more song that's standard Russian pop. By the way, she was happy to know that I'm going to post her songs on here (even if my blog isn't about such kind of music in general).

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