Yassavi zikr in twenty-first century Central Asia: sound, place and authenticity | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2043-1015
  • E-ISSN: 2043-1023


This article examines Sufi music, particularly Yassavi zikr (or dhikr) forms, in contemporary Central Asian cities (such as Andijan and Turkestan). The first part of this essay investigates Sufi performance, also exploring the rarely researched practices of local women. The analysis is based on field work undertaken in the Uzbek area of Ferghana Valley, where the flow of local indigenous mystical knowledge is found in female performances. These musical rituals survived despite the interdictions of the Soviet regime. The article combines methods of identifying musical features found in the mystical chanting and ceremonies with the use of the new computer program Audiosculpt. The second part of this work discusses the revival of male Sufism in the Kazakh city Turkestan, exploring how after the collapse of the Soviet Union, music became an identifying principle of zikr within the male community too.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Ahmad Yassavi; Andijan; female zikr; male zikr; Otin-Oy; Sufism; Turkestan
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