Akpen Birge

From Kazakhstan to New York: American musicians collaborate with Kazakh singer.


Earlier this year, members of the NYC based music group Break of Reality were named music ambassadors for the U.S. State Department. Through American Music Abroad, a program that fosters cross-cultural connections with global audiences and musicians, Break of Reality traveled to Central Asia to perform concerts, teach at local schools, and collaborate with local musicians. The group performed with many wonderful collaborators, but one in-particular left a lasting impression: Galymzhan Moldanazar, a singer-songwriter from Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Galymzhan sings in Kazakh and speaks virtually no english, but connected with Break of Reality through his music. His voice is so pure and beautiful, and his indie / pop aesthetic is completely endearing. After a few concerts in Kazakhstan, a collaboration was soon planned to bring Galymzhan to the U.S.

In May 2015, Break of Reality flew Galymzhan to New York City to collaborate on a new music video for Akpen Birge, one of Galymzhan’s original songs now arranged for Break of Reality. It was the first time Galymzhan had traveled to the U.S., or outside of Kazakhstan for that matter. It was an unbelievable experience for everyone involved.

A note from Ivan Trevino, Break of Reality percussionist: “Music is powerful. It can bring people together, even those of us worlds apart. Break of Reality has built such a special connection with Galymzhan; he is a collaborator and friend for life. It’s incredible for Break of Reality to follow up our music diplomacy tour with this music video for Akpen Birge, and wonderful to offer Galymzhan the opportunity to see and experience the U.S. for the first time, as we experienced Kazakhstan earlier this year. We hope our U.S. and Kazakh fans enjoy this video, and hope it reaches far beyond these two countries.”