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FOLK DANCES AND MUSICAL TRADITIONS OF KARACHAY-BALKARS LIVING IN TURKEY

M. Te 1
KO 2
Abstract: Karachay-Balkars who migrated to Anatolian territory from piedmont regions of Karachay-Balkar around Mount
Elbrus in Caucasus in 1886 and 1905 and called themselves as Alanlar or Tavlu (Highlander) have been able to preserve their
culture until recent years. After being settled into villages by Ottoman governments, however, they began to organize
weddings called Katn Toy (Womens Wedding) to which only women attended, with the thought that We came to a
Muslim country, so women and men cannot be together at weddings under the pressure of religious leaders and Biys (Bey)
Old traditions have been replaced by new ones. For instance, in Yakapnar, there were only one village fountain in the first
years of establishment and it was 500m away from the village. When the elders started to gather in mosque for afternoon
prayer, young girls of the village used to come to the fountain with their buckets to take water. Villages young men used to
take their place around the fountain. The girls getting in the line would rinse their buckets for a long time before they filled
them with affluent water and kept the full buckets under the fountain so that they would be filled by cleaner water, trying
to stay longer at the fountain. Meanwhile they had a chance to talk and joke with young men with whom they performed
Samarkau. Sometimes, since their buckets filled up, the girls left the fountain before completing Samarkau for fear of
arriving late to home. The young man whose Samarkau was not completed gave candies or money to a child so that he/she
put a handful of dirt into the bucket. When the young girl came back to fountain to re-fill her bucket with clean water,
Samarkau went on. The tradition remained alive even after the numbers of fountains increased in the village. However,
when new water brought from mountain was distributed to houses through a large storehouse in 1990s, this nice tradition
discontinued. Karachays who had painstakingly preserved their traditions, until 1950s, such as old dance (tepseu), elegy
(ku), mani (iynar), clapping (al), cursing (kar) and collective performance (ejiu) which they brought from Caucasus
started to partially lose their traditions as a consequence of socio-economic changes in Turkey. Increase in agricultural
mechanization, closer relations with urban and arrival of many Karachay refugees in Turkey with the end of Second World
War in 1948 caused several changes in traditions. For instance, a new type of dance called Kazaska and consisted of
Russian Kazaks figures took its place at weddings, with these refugees teachings. Such acts as uniting the arms on the
chest, putting hand on the floor and twirling one foot like a mill, bending and putting feet forward in turn replaced steme
which was an old Karachay dance. Most of dances performed at weddings started to be forgotten in late 1980s when
natural assimilation process of Karachay-Malkars living in Diaspora accelerated. No study is seen in literature on compiling
these dances and conveying them until today, except for the studies carried out by M. Tekin Kokar. Among findings
obtained, there are dances brought by Karachay-Malkars during the migration and dances and music they produced in
Diaspora. Dances of Karachay-Malkars in Turkey are as the following in general: Tz Tepseu, Ziya Biy Tepseu, Mh Tepseu,
Tunukan (Cuklaan) Tepseu, l Kapateyna (Karaay Kapateyna) Tepseu, Ekili Kapateyna Tepseu (Dayku or erkes
Kapateyna), Aylandu Tepseu, Calndu Tepseu, Aulau Tepseu, Danis Tepseu, ka ka Tepseu, Canngz Tepseu, Kama
Tepseu, Kabra Tepseu, Apsua Tepseu, steme Tepseu.
As a conclusion, these dances and music should be learned and performed at weddings by new generations in order to
convey them to the future.
Key Words: Caucasus, Caucasian Folk, Karachay-Balkar Folk Dances, Diaspora, Tepseu, Karachay-Balkar Folk Music.

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