Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Celtic Bards and Central Asian Gesar Singers


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"Bard.....The word is a Celtic loan word from Scottish Gaelic bàrd, Irish bard, Welsh bardd. ....In medieval Gaelic and Welsh society, a bard (Scottish and Irish Gaelic) or bardd (Welsh) was a professional poet, employed to compose eulogies for his lord ...... In other Indo-European societies, the same function was fulfilled by skalds, rhapsodes, minstrels and scops, among others. A hereditary caste of professional poets in Proto-Indo-European society has been reconstructed by comparison of the position of poets in medieval Ireland and in ancient India in particular.......Bards sang the songs recalling the tribal warriors' deeds of bravery as well as the genealogies and family histories of the ruling strata among Celtic societies. The pre-Christian Celtic peoples recorded no written histories; however, Celtic peoples did maintain an intricate oral history committed to memory and transmitted by bards and filid. Bards facilitated the memorisation of such materials by the use of metre, rhyme and other formulaic poetic devices."

Bards of the Gesar Epic...."The Epic of King Gesar....... (Geser Khan, Кесар, Kesar), is an epic cycle, believed to date from the 12th century, that relates the heroic deeds of the culture hero Gesar, the fearless lord of the legendary kingdom of Ling... It is recorded variously in poetry and prose, chantefable or shuochang being the style of traditional performance, and is sung widely throughout Central Asia.......Some 100 bards of this epic are still active today in the Gesar belt of China....Besides stories conserved by such Chinese minorities as the Bai, Naxi, the Pumi, Lisu and Yugur, versions of the epic are also recorded among the Balti of Baltistan, the Burusho people of Hunza and Gilgit, and the Kalmyk and Ladakhi peoples, in Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, and among various Tibeto-Burmese, Turkish, and Tunghus tribes......The epic is composed of a very large body of versions, each with many variants, and is reputed by some to be the longest in the world."

"Like the outstanding Greek epics, Indian epics and Kalevala, King Gesar is a brilliant pearl in the world's cultural treasure....

"It has been proposed on the basis of phonetic similarities that the name Gesar ......may have been a Turkic language, since kaiser (emperor) entered Turkish through contact with the Byzantine Empire, where Caesar (Καῖσαρ) was an imperial title. Some think the medium for this transmission may have been via Mongolian Kesar. The Mongols were allied with the Byzantines, whose emperor still used the title. Numismatic evidence and some accounts speak of a Bactrian ruler Phrom-kesar, ] specifically the Kabul Shahi of Gandhara, which was ruled by a Turkish From Kesar ("Caesar of Rome"), who was father-in-law of the king of the Kingdom of Khotan around the middle of the 8th century AD....... In early Bon sources, From Kesar is always a place name, and never refers, as it does later, to a ruler.....In some Tibetan versions of the epic, a king named Phrom Ge-sar or Khrom Ge-sar figures as one of the kings of the four directions – the name is attested in the 10th century and this Phrom/Khrom preserves an Iranian form (*frōm-hrōm) for Rūm/Rome. This eastern Iranian word lies behind the Middle Chinese word for (Eastern) Rome, namely Byzantium (phrōm-from)."

"Traveling Bards or Ballads of India......India had for a very long time subscribed to the oral tradition of passing knowledge, wisdomand history. Hence, books were written very late into civilization and yet some like the RigVed were considered the oldest in the historical world......everything was memorized and passed on..... knowledge and history was passed through in arather unique manner. They were formed as couplets, verses, poetry and stories......formed into visualand performance material to be passed on to other civilizations via trade routes.....Pravachans usually have a religious theme, usually the life of a saint or a story from one of India’s epics re-told....pravanchan pundits were often wellversed in the various languages and were highly educated and well-trained in knowledge....The second tradition was Kathakalakshepa. Any story with Sangeetabhinaya or musiccoupled with anecdotes was called Kathakalakshepa....the story was carried through songs and compositions in Indian languages...the storyteller, usually proficient inclassical music, interspaced the main story with music, dance and sub-stories......The third style was a folk narrative, accompanied by some musicalinstrument. The stories chosen were normally heroic ballads."....By Dhara Kothari

"There are at least five theories that attempt to explain the extraordinary connections and resemblances that can be found between European and Indian languages and culture, including: the Kurgan hypothesis, the Anatolian hypothesis, the Harappan Theory...."

Druids, Fili and Bards.....Irish fili, plural filid is usually translated as “poet,” ....Filid comes from the same Celtic root as the Welsh word gweled “see,” and it seems that one of the functions of the filid was that they were seers..... the fili was of a higher social status than the druid.....after the decline of the druid class with the introduction of Christianity..... The lowest of the three groups in social status are the baird, a lower order of poets, called by the Greeks (via reference to the Gaulish varieties) bardoi and by the Romans bardi."


Northern New Mexico

November 2016


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