Gifted by nature Kirill Nikiphorov – Lirkirchirn.
1.This multimedia edition includes the performing olongkho (epic poem) “Khubytta Bergen”by the famous olongkho performer Kirill Nikiphorov – Lirkirchirn. There is also tojuk (epic song) – “The mighty Birch”an extract from olongkho “Mokhsogholloy Botur” the second olongkho from Kirill Nikiphorov’s repertoire performed by Verkhneviluisk olongkho theatre, the interview and photo gallery of this unique talented person who is 29 times champion in track and field athletics, Peoples’ master in wood carving, epic song singer, blesser, Peoples’ healer, Sakha republic’s Honorary elder, Sakha republic’s Honored worker of culture, “the Soul of Russia”prize laureate, participant of various International, Russian congresses, symposia in folklore and heritage of Euro-Asia and the world – Kirill Nikonovich Nikiphorov - Lirkirchirn
This edition is directed to the people who is interested in folklore, for great lovers of epic poems olongkho, students, research workers.
Edited by Ruslan Anisimov.
Compiled by Tatyana Nikiphorova, Matryena Chenokhova.
Translated by Svetlana Ilyina.
Designed by Dmitriy Karataev
Illustrated by Peter Petrov.
Compiled by SII Olongkho NEFU after M.K.Ammosov and the Department of culture MF “Verkhneviluiskiy ulus (district)”.
Video materials are taken from K.N.Nikiphorov’s personal collection (archives).
2. Kirill Nikonovich Nikiphorov (1938)
He was born in the village of Bappagaitsy (Lirkirchirn) Viluisk region. Now he lives in Verkhneviluisk.
The famous olongkho performer, folklore traditions expert epic song singer, blesser, healer.
His repertoire includes: “The cruel fighter Khubytta Bergan”
Began performing olongkho from 1982. The gift of performer was inherited from mother’s stock. The stock “Ajakh uuha” in Viluisk region is known to be an ancient olongkho performers’, narrators’ and epic song singers’ stock. His cousins Peter Kirillovich Ivanov and Mark Gavrilyevich Ivanov-Tabahyt were also olongkho performers in Vilui region. Kirill Nikonovich is said to be the famous Nikon shaman’s son from the village Botulu Verkhneviluisk region(ulus).
ProfessorV.V.Illarionov in his work “Sakha People’s oral-poetic traditions” refers K.Nikiphorov to the modern olongkho performers together with A.E.Solovyov, N.K.Shamaev.
Kirill Nikiphorov performed and showed our traditional epic culture befittingly many times not only in Yakutia but in Russia and abroad:
-The International Epos conference in the honor of A.B.Lord. St. Petersburg (1994)
-The International Turkic nations’ symposium Alma Ata Kazakhstan (1996)
-The practical conference on the problems of Arctic and Pacific regions indigenous populations’ oral creative work in Fort Ross, San Francisco and Berkly(USA,1997)
-The XVIIth International summer festival “Voices of the world” in Tokyo(Japan, 2001) and others.
According to N.V.Emelyanov’s classification the main idea of “Khubytta Bergan”is about the tribe the so called Uraankhay Sakha who protects its tribe from the aggressive actions of abaahy(devils) tribes in the characters of which the personification of different violent strengths are attracted. In these olongkhos the Middle World is populated with people referring to the deities’ relatives. Peaceful life is disturbed by the attacks of enemies. In such a situation a new type of epic hero the tribe’s defender appears. Such heroes like Khubytta Bergen, Erlbert Bergen, Tojon Nuirgun, Nuirgun Bootur etc. In Khubytta Bergen epic tradition is very characteristic and close to the group of Viluisk regions and the language, style expression could be found in Viluisk peoples’ speech.
Yakut tojuk (epic song) is unique and complicated kind of singing. In the style of performing it is divided into two trends: viluiskiy and “yakutskiy”which is spread around the Lena river districts. In the Viluisk kind of singing the voice and its decoration kylyhakh (vibration of the voice) are resounded in the mouth cavity but in the “yakutskiy” way it is made in the nasal cavity.
There are more than 30 epic songs in Kirill Nikonovich’s repertoire. They are about benevolences, blessings, ritual tojuks about nature, about love.
Kirill Nikonovich’s epic song “The mighty Birch”is said to have its peculiarity, a magic mystery of the melody, healing strength.
4. Like all the Yakut men, I’m a descendant of respected older people. I came from the village Lirkirchirn Buppughaj settlement of Viluisk region. I spent my childhood in Lirkirchirn. Then I moved to Buppughaj which is situated 45km far. I finished 7years schooling there. After that we moved to the town of Viluisk where I grew up. It’s a pity there wasn’t anyone to teach me to live, to direct. I wanted to study very much but it didn’t happen. So I went to work at industrial enterprise as a joiner and a worker. At the age of 18 I was called up for the military service though for the first 3 years I wasn’t called because of my grandmother’s aging. There wasn’t anyone to look after her. Only at the age of 21 I was called up for the military service. As the destiny prepared severe probations I went to the Arctic military service. In summer times temperature reached plus degrees in a short period of time. All the rest days the weather remained cold. We used to wear winter clothes in August. In such a place I happened to serve. If I had been to warmer place I would have shown my adroitness and young energy. I really wanted to go in for track and field events. Perhaps, you’ll ask why I remember about that moment. The matter is I was called up for the military service only 3 days before the Yakut national holiday Yhyakh in Viluisk. There was the sportsman in track and field athletics Mr Karataev who always won republican prizes. When we trained together I was the second after him. And so if I had begun training since those times I would have achieved better results. As it passed it passed. In such a way I happened to serve in the Army for 3 and half years. In the Arctic regions military servicemen were not in a hurry to send the soldiers back home as they were waiting for the new summer season recruits to come and pass their adaptation. It was really too long to wait in the Army.
After the Army I came to Verkhneviluisk to my second birthplace married, worked at the local plant where I was regarded as a conscientious worker. When I was at the age of 30 with 4 children I began to go in for sport and be busy with my lovely track and field athletics. In 1965 in Nam district Manchaary summer games were hold, where I took part in running for 10km. There were all the light athletics sportsmen of our republic such as: Sidor Ignatyev, Savva Ivanov, from Suntar region,Juriy Sergeeyev, and my best friend Andrey Ustinov. There were also Ivan Ivanovfrom Megino-Kangalassy, Vasily Gotovtsev from Ust-Aldan nobody reached his result. Some days later I began Marathon race on 30 km and took the second place after Ivan Rumyantsev from Ust-Aldan. Certainly these sportsmen were much experienced than me. That year I had a chance to take part in the Union competitions in Grozny where I proved the 1st title. For the unexperienced, who was sent from the sawmill it was a difficult test. The strength gifted by nature gave me a success to reach my goal. In this way I was in the republican team in track and field athletics for 3 years throughout Yukutia. I’m not boastful I aware. For those years I was the first to have prizes in the regional competitions in Far East, Siberia, Chita, Novosibirsk, Blagoveshshensk. People will prove that, especially those who were from Yakutia. They were: Tatjana Chernogradskaja, our trainer from Ust-Aldan, Ivan Ivanov and Andrey Ustinov.There were many of us though nowadays there are only few remaining alive. Here are my results in sport carrier: I became 29 times absolute champion in track and field athletics, broke 3 records. I think in my short sporting life I glorified Yukutia in the Russian Federation.That’s why I was nicknamed as ‘’Northern reindeer”.
Whenever I go to the competition many people greet me, wish me a lucky chance and scream from their seats. I think it is because of my little height and skinny body. And at the next contest at the age of 43, having made a technical mistake, I lost the Games in favor of Vladimir Sleptsov 25 years old sportsman from Ust-Aldan. Only that time I realized that the age 43 is enough, it is the limit for the athlete to stop and then I gave up track and field athletics once for all. Anyway, I started being engaged with olongkho and tojuk (epic song). There are 2 olongkhos in my repertoire: “Khubytta Bergen” and “Mokhsogholloy Bootur”. These 2 olongkhos were staged as a performance at the local theatres of different districts, villages and were a great success with the audience. On the main characters of my olongkhos I carved out wooden statues that were exposed in England, Japan, America as well as Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, in the cities of Moscow, Leningrad. In these places I showed my statues and performed my olongkhoes. People became greatly interested.
In the USA I visited 9 states. During this trip it was compulsory to visit schools and universities. I told Americans about our Yukut epic poem (olongkho) to which it would be given the special place in the world culture. So being in California at one of the universities during 3 days I spoke to students about epic poem, performed olongkho at the same time showing my wooden compositions. I am very proud of it. Thus, there are above 50 tojuks (epic songs) 10 of them are my favorite ones and whenever I have a chance they are always sung before the audience. I won Gran-Prix at the epic songs’ contest during our national holiday Yhyakh in Taatta uluus. I was awarded by another Gran-Prix at Tujmaada Yhyakh.
So I am respected and grated by peoplel. I have to answer for their attitude by my labour. And my answer is – the Temple of Archy (sancture, holy) that is one of the famous buildings in Verkhneviluisk. Whenever someone or special delegation arrives to our settlement they try to show firstly the Temple of Archy where I accomplish the ceremony of purification, welfare. Since ancient times our ancestors have been doing such ceremonies to each other, purifying from sewage (dirtiness), ailments. We shouldn’t forget that, we have to help each other in difficult situations wishing only welfare. So we live in this way, especially with my friends in the Olongkho theatre like one happy, friendly family. If there is a need we show our performances, tojuks, olongkhoes before the population. That’s why I say let’s live in friendship and let our work be fruitful for people!
I have been creating olongkho since the eighties and began to fix in the written language at the end of seventies. For me there was something inside my soul, to be busy with this matter. I felt stable equilibrium inside, in my soul after I had performed olongkho. That is why I began to fix my first olongkho “Khubytta Bergen” into the written language.
For the first time in my life in 1982 I took part in the republican contest of olongkho performers. There were 12 participants. It’s a pity only I am still alive from these performers. Carrying out their behests I have to deal with this occupation, perform olongkho, popularize throughout the world.
As you see these are my first characters from the first olongkho “Khubytta Bergen”, they could be shown in exhibitions. When I travel to any town or any foreign country I always show them before schools and university students.
Nature and its environment are always described in olongkho. Here you can see ‘’Khubytta Bergen”s native surroundings. This landscape was painted in 2004. One can see the hero “Khubytta Bergen ”became grown up, being at a mature age, taking off his eterbes (a kind of boots made of cow’s or a horse’s leather) is jumping “boor” a national kind of jumping along the valley of the river Khukharytta Ebe. In such a way it is shown his maturity of becoming the real hero the defender, protector of his tribe and people. Represented in this composition olongkho’s surroundings could be told one and a half hour. For example, pay attention to this Larch – it is eight branched Larch. Such a huge and enormous, sacred larches grow only in great countries. This very Larch grows in the centre of the Middle land above where eight roads are diverged. The larch is created by the mother nature for higher powers of the heaven that when they come down to the Earth they will protect, help people of the Middle World from vicious spirits. That in such a way we work for the welfare of olongkho, and we are going to work further, in a word, there are lots of plans