The story of one kui – Saltanat

Every Kazakh knows the story of Tolegen Mombekov’s kui - Saltanat. The sad piece is full of Sorrow and the Pity.

Tolegen Mombekov is Kazakh kuishi. He was born in 1918 in a place Sozak located in South Kazakhstan oblast.

Mombekov started to play dombyra very early. He never learned to do it, did not get any music education, he did not know any notes. He was one of the “Dala musicians”.

He started to compose after coming back from the War.


Actually, he was exempted from attending the front-line, because he worked as an electrician in the mines. It was his own choice to go to the War. He was wounded in the battle. The grenade burst nearby and disfigured his right cheek. He supposed to go back to the battle. But the doctor, a young woman marked him as an unfightable and sent him home. He would frequently think of her later.

He found his homeland in sad condition. His mother died soon after he came back. And only dombyra helped him to find a rescue from the sadness and loneliness attacked his heart.

[caption id=”attachment_3695” align=”aligncenter” width=”300”] Tolegen Mombekov[/caption]

Tolegen married and had 6 children. He became famous musician and composer. Actually, he composed about 130 kuis. But only 30 were notated.

Saltanat is the name of his younger daughter.

In 1969 Tolegen widowed. 5 daughters - Raikhan, Kyzjan, Dana, Gulzhan, Saltanat and son Kairat were left without mother. Tolegen was sick at heart, but he had to be strong.

Once he came back home after work tired. His 4-years old daughter Saltanat was crying. She felt hurt by her brother Kairat. She wiped tears from her face and cried “I will tell Mom!”

Those words hit Tolegen hard. He gave his daughter a hug and cried with her. Then he took dombyra and played trying to ease her pain. That’s how Saltanat kui was born.