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Urtiin Duu Singer, Sanjai

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Bulag, Uradyn E. 


Sanjai is a local urtiin duu (long song) singer and he has collected around 600 songs from Bayangol, Ili, Hobogsair, and Har Usu. Sanjai says that songs for elders distinguish males and females, paternal and maternal relatives, or even relatives’ domestic animals, but he is worried that not many people who are singing the urtiin duu these days actually understand the meanings behind them.A song he sings in the video is about an orphan boy being left behind with a foal on the side of the Volga river by the migrant Torghuts. Many years later, he returned to Xinjiang as a hero. The lyrics reflect the separation of parents from children; however, people often sing this song at celebratory events.As shown in the video, Sanjai is recording himself singing an urtiin duu and sharing it with people all over Xinjiang via WeChat.



urtiin duu, social etiquette, Torghut history, Volga river,

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin