The Story of one Song: Daididau

For a long time, it was believed that Daididau is a Kazakh folk song. But as it comes, the piece of music was written by Kazakh poet Magzhan Zhumabayev, who used to call his beloved wife Zylikha - Daididau.

Magzhan’s wife’s name was Zylikha Qurmanbaykizi. They knew each other from the childhood as far as they were distantly related: Zylikha’s father and Magzhan grandfather (mother’s father) were brothers. Magzhan fell in love with a young beauty when they were 16-17 years old. He sent her a letter expressing his feels before he left homeland and went to studying in Ufa madrasah (1910, July). But young Zylikha was too shy to respond to his feels. Three years later she was engaged to the local merchant. In 1917 Magzhan married to the girl Zeinep. She was from the jet-setting family, and a remote relative to Shoqan Ualikhanov. The marriage was Magzhan’s parents’ choice. And he had no issue with it. The marriage did not last for a long time. In 1919 Zeinep died in childbirth. A year later Zylikha widowed too.

People says Magzhan and Zylikha were meant to be together. They married in 1922. Unfortunately, family happiness was short.

Kazakh poet was arrested twice: in 1926 and 1937.

When he was arrested for the first time all of his relatives were persecuted too. His brothers were arrested. Even his younger brother Salimzhan was captured on his way from Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) where he went to know Magzhan’s fate. The rest ones looked away from Magzhan’s family in fear to be captured too. But Zylikha never gave up. In spite of all risk she went to Leningrad for the several times to support her husband. She was keeping bringing him food and clothes. She reached out Russian writer Maksim Gorkiy and asked him for a help who rescued many intellectuals during Repression years. Finally, Gorkiy helped to Magzhan too and the poet was set free in 1936.

The second and last arrest was fatal for him. Kazakh poet was executed by shooting in 1938.

Magzhan’s literature heritage was not left to us in full. All we have poetry, poems, and works had been created before his first arrest in 1926. They were kept safe thanks to Zylikha’s hard work. She collected and retyped his notes and papers in spite of all his copyrighted works were under a ban. They were prohibited till 1989.


Unfortunately, there is no information about Magzhan’s latest poetry including Daididau song. The biographers studying his life think the song could be written in 1930 when Magzhan was sent to Karelia. Nobody talked openly who was the author of the song being afraid it could be the object of the State Censorship. The song was used in Kazakh Soviet movie “Shanyrak” directed by Edige Bolysbayev. Those in the know about the song told to the movie director that he brought their dreams come truth.

Nowadays Daididau is the most famous Kazakh song in the whole world thanks to Dimash Kudaibergen great performance.

The English translation of the song is available here.