ModerncultureoftheCrimeanTatars

The story of Crimean Tatars, indigenous people of the Crimean peninsula, is significantly reflected in their culture. Discover the Crimean Tatar history, culture, and identities through the works of modern artists. Here we share with you some famous music, film, and visual pieces of art. 

Music

Being already successful in Ukraine, a musician with Crimean Tatar and Armenian origins Jamala became known in the world after she won the Eurovision song contest in 2016 in Stockholm. She performed with the song telling the dramatic story of the Crimean Tatar people who were deported from the peninsula by the Soviet authorities. The song’s name “1944” recalls the year of the tragedy. 

Jamala performs in various music styles, such as jazz, soul, funk, folk, pop and electro. Also, she is the author of most of her songs. Enjoy Jamala’s music!

Video: Kryla (“Wings”) by Jamala
Video: Eurovision Song Contest

Usein Bekirov is a Ukrainian-Crimean Tatar composer, pianist, violinist, arranger, sound producer and bandleader. Bekirov creates in the styles of ethno-jazz, funk and fusion. In his compositions, he uses folk melodies of the Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, Balkans. In addition to many jazz and pop compositions, Usein writes music in an academic style using folk motives and elements of jazz.

Should you be interested in jazz, learn about Aisel Balich, a jazz singer who is the winner of international prizes. She currently lives and works in Crimea. Aisel Balich performs often together with Usein Bekirov. 

Online concert Svoi.Korinni by indigenous musicians of Ukraine. Video: Ukrainian Institute

Visual Arts

The ceramic artist and designer Rustem Skybin created his own style of polychrome painting of ceramic products, which carries the best features of the traditional culture of the Crimean Tatars. The artist perfectly mastered the method of creating new forms of ancient ornamental patterns. He collects different forms of traditional household pottery, explores and restores old professional methods. Within a year after leaving Crimea, he managed to open his studio El-Cheber in Kyiv which produces unique plates with exquisite calligraphic compositions, ceramic lamps, fountains, musical instruments and decorative panels.

Interview with Rustem Skybin. Video: UATV English

Film

Family and native land are always at the center of Nariman Aliev’s stories who is a young Ukrainian film director born in Crimea. He made three short films united in the trilogy Crimean Stories: “Return with Sunrise” (2013), “Love You” (2014), and “Without You“ (2016). His works were screened in leading national and international film festivals, including Berlin International Film Festival, Palm Springs ShortFest, Vancouver Film Festival.

The drama “Homeward” marks Nariman Aliev’s feature debut in 2019. The film tells the story of Mustafa who lost his oldest son in the Russian-Ukrainian war. Together with his younger son, he set out on a journey from Kyiv to take the son’s body to his native land Crimea to bury him according to the Muslim tradition. The road will profoundly mark their relationship.

HOMEWARD (2019). Video: Ave Production Channel

To preserve authenticity, the main parts are played by Crimean Tatars. The father is played by a well-known actor and director in Ukraine Akhtem Seitablayev, and Remzi Bilyalov played the younger son who isn’t a professional actor. Moreover, almost half of the film is in the Crimean Tatar language. 

Traditions and customs

Curious to find out more about Crimean Tatar culture? Watch the video! In the short film, you will learn about traditions and customs, and meet people for whom Crimean Tatar culture and art is the meaning of life.

Video: Discover Destination UA

Cover photo: Elvir Sagirman, Crimean Tatar Resource Center

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