The songs to be heard and read here were sung by Irina Kečimova (born Sopočina, 1961) on the second and the fourth of July 1996 in the Rayon Surgut of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug in North-West Siberia, in the summer settlement near Čikli-Jawen river, a tributary stream of the Tromagan river. We listened to the songs once again a couple of days after their recording and Irina Kečimova helped in transcribing and analyzing the texts.
Irina Kečimova is a native speaker of Tromagan Khanty, a sub-dialect of Eastern Khanty. Her father Ivan Stepanovič Sopočin (1910-1993) was a very renowned local shaman, her mother was an Agan Khanty.
The Sopočins’ original homeland was located where the city of Kogalym is today. The family had to relocate because of the construction of this city. Today they live further to the west, distributed across an area with a cross-section dimension of 40 kilometers.
Irina attended school in the following villages along the Tromagan River: Staryj-Tromagan, Jubilejnyj, and Russkinskie. She speaks broken Russian. Her husband Dmitrij Antonovič Kečimov (1960-1999) was also a Tromagan-Khanty who lived in a very traditional way. He also liked to sing and tell tales. He died in an accident under highly tragic circumstances. They have five children.
She composed some of the personal songs herself, some of them she learned from relatives and guests. She also performed mythic songs, which I will publish on the next CD of the series. The lyrics are transcribed according to the transcription system I have elaborated for Surgut Khanty (cf. Márta Csepregi: Szurguti osztják chrestomathia [Surgut-Ostyak Chrestomathy], Szeged, 1998).
A woman’s first husband has died. A man comes proposing to her, but she turns him down and does not marry him. Instead she moves to her elder sister´s. First publication.
Mitya (i.e., Dmitrij Dmitrievič Kečimov, 1987) is Irina’s second-born son. The song was composed by his godmother, Irina’s eldest sister, Fekla Ivanovna Pokačeva (1944). The personal songs of small boys are often about proposals of marriage at which they are brought together with an old woman of their acquaintance. Such songs are also used as lullabies, but when I was there nine year old Mitya did not like hearing it as he considered it as embarrassing. First pubication of the text: Katalin Lázár – Márta Csepregi: Keleti osztják bölcsődalok [Ostchantische Wiegenlieder]. Zenetudományi dolgozatok [Studies in Musicology] 1997-1998: 211-221.
Irina composed this song as a lullaby for her only daughter Tatjana Dmitrievna Kečimova (1994). The girl’s pet name given to her by her family was Lada, the name occurs repeatedly in the song. First publication.
Jacob was a guest of Irina and her family, she learned this song from him. First publication of the lyric: Márta Csepregi: Szurguti osztják chrestomathia [Surgut-Ostyak Chrestomathy]. Szeged. 1998: 110.
Irina doesn’t know the official names of Ureko’s relatives, therefore she distinguishes them only by their kinship names. First publication of the lyrics: Márta Csepregi: Szurguti osztják chrestomathia [Surgut-Ostyak Chrestomathy]. Szeged. 1998: 112.
Irina’s maternal grandmother, Varvara Ajpina (born Pokačeva), died at the beginning of the 1930’s. As if anticipating her death, in this song she commits her two children to her sister-in-law’s care. This song was also recorded by Katalin Lázár in 1992 in a rendition by Irina’s aunt Fekla Ivanovna. According to another sibling’s explanation in Russian this song is by the grandmother, but in a recording in Khanty Fekla says: „My mother composed it.“ Therefore the song is not prophecy, but a chronicle – sung in the form of the personal songs, i.e. in the first person singular. First publication of all the three song texts: Katalin Lázár (ed.): Tanulmányok a Szurguti osztják kultúráról [Contributions to Khanty Culture]. Néprajzi Múzeum [Ethnographic Museum]. Budapest 1997. 63-65.
Song of Irina Kečimova’s father, Ivan Stepanovič Sopočin (1910-1993). First publication of the lyrics: Márta Csepregi: Szurguti osztják chrestomathia [Surgut-Ostyak Chrestomathy]. Szeged. 1998: 114.
First publication of the lyrics: Márta Csepregi: Szurguti osztják chrestomathia [Surgut-Ostyak Chrestomathy]. Szeged. 1998: 116-118.
Irina’s variant of the Russian folk song „Čto stoiš kačajas'“ („Why are you standing there swaying?“). According to her narration she did not like the lyrics of the folk song and rephrased them for this reason. The melody reminds us of the first two lines of the folk song, but she is not able, nor does she wish to, follow the original melody which is unknown to her. She does no’t even stay in the same key. This song is an interesting example of the mutual influence of cultures. First publication.
First publication of the lyrics: Márta Csepregi: Szurguti osztják chrestomathia [Surgut-Ostyak Chrestomathy]. Szeged. 1998: 110.
First publication of the lyrics: Márta Csepregi: Szurguti osztják chrestomathia [Surgut-Ostyak Chrestomathy]. Szeged. 1998: 120.