Kazakh Folk Poetry

The oral-poetic tradition was known among the Turkic-speaking tribes already in the 6th-8th centuries: its elements are noted in the Orkhon monuments. The art of the word occupied an honorable place in the life of nomadic pastoralists.

Nameless akyns created folk poetry closely connected with ritual folklore. Songs are divided into the following genres: toy bastar (a song intended to start a wedding), synsu (a bride’s song when leaving her native village), jar-jar (a wedding song – a competition between horsemen and girls), bet-ashar (admonition song) , zhoktau and estirtu (crying for the deceased), koshtasu (farewell to loved ones).

Epic poems tell about the exploits of the batyrs who defended their relatives from foreign raids: “Alpamys”, “Er-Targyn”, “Er-Kokshe”, “Koblandy”. Works of folk poetry were passed down from generation to generation by improvisers zhyrau, singer-songwriters zhyrshy, singers olenshy and akyns.


This region is the land of our village,

The place where the noble slaves were tied to the net.

I saw a fire burning in my eyes,

It’s a place where you can ride and play like a donkey!

This region is a prosperous place for our village,

The place where I caressed and corrected Karagoz.

My eyes are burning with fire,

A place where brown hair has not broken its promise!

The chicken is out of nest,

The chicken dug a hole in the nest..

(Balapan Kaz)