Baluan Sholak

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Baluan Sholak
Baluan Sholak.jpg

11 December 1864
Karaotkel, Akmola Province, Kazakhstan
NationalityKazakh Türk
OccupationComposer, singer, poet, dombra player, dzhigit and wrestler

Baluan Sholak (Kazakh: Балуан Шолақ, Balýan Sholaq; 1864–1919), was a Kazakh Turkic composer, singer, poet, dombra player, dzhigit and wrestler.


Baluan Sholak was born on 11 December 1864, in the village of Karaotkel near the Khan mountains in modern Akmola Province, Kazakhstan, and was named Nurmagambetov. He was the son of a carpenter.[1] At a young age he lost fingers in an accident when his right hand was burnt, and became known as Baluan Sholak, "Fingerless Fighter".[2]

He gained fame as a singer of Kazakh songs, composing and performing music by Birzhan Kozhagulova and Achan Seri. He travelled through Kokshetau, Karaotkel, Bayan-Aul, Irtysh, and Sarysu, staging performances with his esenmble of dombra players, singers, storytellers, jockeys and wrestlers.[1]

Some of his songs became very popular in Kazakhstan, including Галия (Galia) and Сентябрь (September). He was also an accomplished dzhigit (skilful horse rider), standing on the back of a galloping horse or riding under the horse's belly.[1] On one occasion at the Koyandinsk Fair he battled a well-known fighter named Carona and broke several ribs.

Baluan Sholak remained popular with his countrymen. His songs are still heard today, and the Baluan Sholak Palace of Culture and Sports in Almaty, built in 1967 and seating 5000, is named in his honour.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Тимур Амиров. "Певец и борец Балуан Шолак (The singer and fighter Baluan Sholak)" (in Russian). Neonomad. Archived from the original on 2012-09-05. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
  2. ^ "Kazakh names :: Kazakh culture and national traditions". OrexCA. Retrieved 2012-04-23.

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