September 26, 2010 - My first Kazakh қонақ dinner. I was still living in Panfilova at the time with Раушан and Азат. Раушан's daughter - whose name I have since forgotten - made a rare appearance, as she usually resides in Almaty at her university. This is a very low-key, quiet қонақ preparation and evening. The dough Раушан is working with is for the бесбармақ noodles. One of my favorite parts of қонақ dinners is when the guests break out in song. The songs you hear sung are by Раушан's neighbors. To hear the voices fill the room, the harmonies so effortlessly woven together… it is in these moments the music resonates deep inside of me and I am vividly aware that I am in Kazakhstan. The name of the three songs are "Ахау керім", "Еркем-ай" and "Арыстың жағасында".

kaz.alexmwhite.com

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