Dombra is Always with Me

Sound of the steppe | contest winner

[This article is part of the Nov. 2021 issue of PAX Press.]

I’ve always known that music is a way of expressing your feelings and emotions. I started playing the dombra was when I was 13. I volunteered at a festival where a lot of dombra players performed, and I was just touched by a little girl who was playing a dombra that was bigger than her, she was treating this musical instrument like a fragile and expensive thing.

I wanted to play the dombra too.

The dombra is an amazing musical instrument, which was created by nomads of the steppes of Kazakhstan. It sounds the way mountains, wind, and rivers were understood by nomads. It expresses feelings, it warms ears and cheers, and sometimes it makes you sad. The important thing is that the dombra brings feelings, so I love it. I’ve been playing it for three years. It’s easier to play than the guitar, but it has its peculiarities.

It sounds the way mountains, wind, and rivers were understood by nomads.

My project is called Dombra is Always with Me because I realized that wherever I go I always take my dombra with me. I brought it to America to share its beautiful sound and unusual look, and I will take her with me wherever I go.

I can’t imagine a day without playing my dombra. I always play it, always express my emotions and feelings through the dombra. Playing the dombra helps me find a better connection with people and their souls than words do. So the dombra will always be with me, so I can always show people how I feel, how Kazakhstan sounds, and how beautiful the melody of thoughts and ideas is through the dombra.

—Alina (FLEX, Kazakhstan), hosted by the Behl family (IN)