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Almas Almatov (b. 1951) is one of the greatest living Kazakh epic singers (zhyrau, singer of tales). Zhyraus are thought to acquire their gift in a miraculous way, as through dreams. In the past, a zhyrau was simultaneously an historian, a poet, an entertainer, a healer, and a keeper of collective memory. Almatov sustained this tradition during the Soviet period, when many aspects of traditional culture, particularly those connected to spirituality, were discouraged or forbidden. This song constitutes a veritable course in Kazakh mores: how youth should behave, how the powerful should listen to the advice of the wise, what the obligations of the fortunate are. (During, Levin 2001)