Saturday, August 30, 2008

Graphic Novel - Tatar Reference

These panels are from a graphic novel called "Epileptic". The author is David B.
The book is a very cleverly imagined story, and has nothing to do with Tatars, except for this:

Tatar Virtual Education - Very Intriguing

This folder is from the website of The Tatar Virtual Gymnasia

This teaches kids how to write. It's worth a look.
I think it's for the 4th Grade, my highest level of education.

The site has a wealth of information and articles.
This page is good too. It's a list of articles written in Latin Letters in Tatar Language.
These are not 4th grade level.

Tatars in China - Manchouko Hailar Harbin Sin Zin Shanghai

1923-1939 Emperor of Manchuria (Manchukuo)
who looks like he's 12 or 13 years old and already bad eyesight
Hailar Turko-Tatar school - copied from

look how pretty it is, and look at the window pane detail, the white picket fence!

My Eni and her little brother were born in Hailar (Haylar) China. Hailar is in Manchuria, but during their time there, it was Occupied by the Japanese, and the state was called Manchouko. There were Tatar communities in Hailar, Harbin, Shanghai, and Sin Zin. (possibly more) My Zuhre Ebe was a Principal at a Tatar School there.
My Eni was educated at a Russian school and a Tatar School. The above pic is her 7th grade. It looks like the Imperial City on the wall behind them. (or a really nice Chinese restaurant). My Eni front row left left.
Our family left after the Chinese closed our schools. I'm sure there were many other reasons.
I've heard some stories of difficulties they endured there. I've also heard stories of a nice life there. Eni has flowers in her garden that she used to plant in Hailar as a little girl. (cosmos)
People often ask, "Do you Speak Chinese?" Nope. I don't think the Tatars there spoke much Chinese either. Eni says "We were there as Russians, holding Russian Communist Passports."

These are from a Turkish magazine from the 1970's. This magazine was called "Kazan" and distributed globally to Tatars in diaspora. With all respect, this Imam on the right, with the tassel, looks like an actor from a silent film. He reminds me of how, as children, we would play "flying carpet" with our Turkish carpets. We didn't receive the bounty of an American Christmas, but our carpets could fly! That was due to the influence of the cartoon "Arabian Nights". The Arabs would say "Rozan Kobar" or something (Hollywood Arabic) like that and the carpet would fly off! Some Turkish carpets, with their geometric patterns and parallel lines, make great racing strips for Hot Wheels (toy cars) too. The first Mullah that I remember here in California was a really nice (little) man. He would give kids cookies that he made. They were like a big "O" and delicious.

These two more are from Sin Zin and of the Mosque in Harbin. It looks lovely. The horizontal stripes hint at Flemish architecture. I wonder if it's still there. I asked Eni not too long ago if anyone has ever returned? Very few.

I asked if there was a dominant geographic feature defining Hailar. Is it on a river? Is it a sleepy little town? Are there mountains?
Eni said there was a river. The last person she knows that went there said it dried up.

This is a more recent picture sent to me from Harbin of a mosque there. Is it the same?

Tatar Play in California 1982

This is the program from a Tatar Play produced in Burlingame in 1982. I remember how much everyone laughed and laughed. I also remember not understanding parts of the play. This was before my interest in my own Language was re-ignited. When I was in Kazan, one night we went to the theatre. I didn't understand much of what was going on on the stage. I thought my Tatarcha was really really bad. Someone told me the players "Bashka yerden kilgenler", which made me feel better. Sometimes when I'm reading something in Tatar and I encounter a word that I don't understand, I'll hunt in my resources, to discover that it's not a Tatar word at all, but a Russian Word. If it's a Russian slang word, I'm screwed. If the word has double-entendre, that tends to go over my head as well. I'm hoping for single-entendre. (for a start)

This program serves the additional benefit of being written in both Arabic Script and in English.
These practical "Rosetta Stones" are a much more stimulating way of learning our language, compared to a textbook. It's exactly this type of thing that gets my heart beating fast.

Has anyone ever gotten a tattoo of an alphabet? Like an armband?
I'd often thought a practical tattoo would be like the inside of a pack of Export A cigarettes;
A thorough conversion chart, algebraic formulas.

Several of these people are no longer with us and seeing their names reminds me of how much I liked all of them. Bless their souls.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Presentation From Tukay Kon 2008

These papers are from a musical presentation by Dilare Capanoglu at the ATTA Tukay Kon Event. She's the Musical director of the singing group and a teacher as well. She's a very talented teacher and has an Ocean of patience. It's hysterical when she imitates our poor singing, but it's very encouraging at the same time. (click to enlarge)

Massachussetts Tatar Manifestation

One of my closest and dearest friends, Travis came out to visit from the East Coast for a few days. While she was here, I showed her my accordions, and played a couple of songs for her. She returned to Cape Cod and sent me this note along with this video,

"I just put those pictures I took of you playing your accordians on a disc, one after the other, as a little film. They'll be shown this Friday nite on the side of the Schoolhouse Gallery bldg in Ptown. As part of a little home-made film fest. You'll be famous!!!
The name of the film is: Ilhan Accordian"

(i think it's supposed to loop)

I wonder if one of the Kennedys' saw me on the gallery!

Tatar Alifbe Instruction Book - Tokyo 1932 - SF Tatar Virtual Library

This book may be the most important of them all out of the books from Japan. My Zuhre Ebe gave me this book and wrote the dedication.

I can only get so far with this book. I do much better if my Eni is sitting next to me. Ebe would write letters to my Eni in Arabic Script Tatar Language. Eni would reply to her in Latin Script, Turkish Language.

When I was a child, I used to think that Turks were speaking Tatarcha incorrectly. I've left all the scribbles and notes in the converted .pdf file. Several people have contributed to the notes over time.

I've seen Arabic Language instruction pages where mouseovers trigger audio files of the words being read by an expert, to assist with pronunciation. This would be helpful with this text, and a possible future project.

Alifbe Arabic Script instructional book. (in Tatar)

Tokyo 1933 Tatar Book - Arabic Script SF Tatar Virtual Library

The Unofficial San Francisco Public Library Tatar Department is pleased to announce a new title for our shelves, published in 1933 in Tokyo. Godzilla destroyed most of the Tatar Library in Tokyo , but these few volumes remain. This is the first of two volumes. These books are literally piles of paper, and now preserved forever.

These are the books that I was talking about wallpapering my home with, the writing being so beautiful, and what's even better are the beautiful Tatar words hidden under this script. Many Americans think that if are reading Arabic letters, that you speak and understand the Arabic Language. They are often surprised to learn that Tatar was written in Arabic script.

The only places that I saw Arabic script in Kazan were at the cemetery, Tukay Museum, and of course at Bolghar.
Several of these books are religious in nature. I'm posting them for linguistic study.

I'll post volume 2 after I scan and .pdf it.
This book (above) is about 172 pages, and available:

I also have .pdf of a very good Alifbe Arabic Script instructional book. (in Tatar)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tatar English - English Tatar Dictionary SF Tatar Virtual Library

Here's the latest addition to the Unofficial San Francisco Public Library Tatar Language Department.

I'm told this book is out of print. I've purchased several copies over the years and encourage you to do the same. It's scanned and .pdf here:
The font is a san serif and the original is just as lame quality as the .pdf.
I wish this book was a hundred times bigger.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tatar Dance Party

We believe this footage of Tatar Men Dancing is from the 1950's sometime.
They look serious, but it looks like great fun.

I'm told that you shouldn't sit close to the dance floor at a Tatar Wedding or Banquet as you're likely to get kicked in the head.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fresh Perspective on our Singing Group

These above shots are from a concert that was done to honour the 1000 year anniversary of the city of Kazan, Capitol of the State of Tatarstan.

Here's another shot of us from Sabantuy. I think we look great. I haven't seen the video yet. This picture may look different after viewing the video.

Tatar Accordion YouTube

My brother and family in Seattle sent me an incredible video camera for my birthday.

Bek Zur Rahmet.

This video has become a bit blurry during conversion, but this is my first Video. (my lame excuse) I'm finding the blurring effect to be flattering, as I'm not aging as gracefully as I'd hoped to.
I built a bench in the featured Bay Window so that I could sit in the sun and play guitar and accordion. Under the bench there are dozens and dozens of books of Sheet Music.

A definitive architectural feature in San Francisco is the Bay Window. The view from my seat is past a cathedral on a hill towards Golden Gate Park and onwards towards the Pacific Ocean. If It's warm outside, I crack the windows and people look up from the bus-stop 3 floors down.
and they think........."My God, I'm so sick of hearing Kuk Kugercin!".

Sunday, August 24, 2008

They're Not Tatar In Juneau Alaska

I wasn't the only fool on April Fool's Day years ago. The people of Juneau Alaska were fools for not buying this Awesome Hand-Painted One-Of-A-Kind KISS Nesting-Babushka set. There weren't any cruise-ships in town so nobody was there to watch me scream when I saw Gene Simmons sitting there on the shelf.
I'm not sure where the fun is supposed to be with these Russian toys. I think they're meant to teach you that life is a disappointment. There's really nothing at the end, it just gets smaller and smaller. Perhaps they're meant to teach children how to be precise. (Gene Simmon's tongue extends to the lower portion of the babushka, which assists with precise alignment.)

And yes, there are Russians still in Juneau. There is a pretty, old wooden octagonal Russian Orthodox Church there. I think it fits about 20 people. The people of Juneau are very kind. The scenery is very dramatic there, but the weather couldn't be worse, Freezing and Wet.

Pickpocket Your Tatar Pimp and Go Shopping!

This is great.
Lessons every Young Tatar Girl needs to learn.
And a cool Tatar song for a soundtrack;

1.) Dance around in front of your pimp half naked.
2.) Ply him with alcohol
3.) After he passes out, empty his wallet.
4.) Go to the shopping mall and dance!

Иркэ и DJ Radik ("Бай син, бай)
Irke and DJ Radik - Bay Sin Bay!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sofia Gubaidulina - Tatar Composer

Sofia Gubaidulina was born in Christopol, but grew up in Kazan.
I have a couple of CD's. There was one I had loaned to my Mother. She thought it was broken. (It wasn't)
She composed the strange background music in this video.

I like this upbeat Piano ditty as well..

Latvian National Anthem

As far as National Anthems are concerned, the Latvian one kicks ass. It is soooooo pretty, I just had to post it. There are Tatars in Latvia, but I'm not posting this because of that, but because I just like it. I don't know many people that are capable of singing the National Anthem of the USA. It's a strange tune.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Шәйхзадә Бабич Cyrillic+ Arabic script withTatar Words SF Tatar Virtual Library

Шәйхзадә Бабич
Халкым Өчен

Ап-ак алтын җырларымны җырламыйм данлык өчен,
Җырлыймын алтын илемнән, үз туган халкым өчен.

Саф көмештик җырларымны җырламыйм алтын өчен,
Җырлаем тик саф көмештик саф йөрәк халкым өчен.

Чәчкә төсле җырларымны җырламыйм зәүкым өчен,
Җырлаем тик чәчкәдәй кызларга бай халкым өчен.

Дәртле кайнар җырларымны җырламыйм дәртем өчен,
Җырлаем тик мәңге шат, дәртле,көләч халкым өчен.

Егьламыйм мин көннәрем сыргак, суык салкын өчен,
Егьлыем тик ярлы мескен, кызганыч халкым өчен.

Яшь чагым алтын чагым, ялкын чагым булсын фида
Халкым алдында минем биргән таза антым өчен.

I would call this a bit of a Rosetta Stone. Above is Cyrillic, below is Arabic Script, language is Tatar. I find these to be SO helpful when trying to learn to read Tatar in Arabic script. I found this in the back of this issue of Kazan Utlari. If you click on the Arabic Script, a window will open where you can actually read it. It's so beautiful. I would love to wallpaper my walls with Tatar writing. (but I think people would think I'd gone nuts)

Shazam! My Grandfather, and Isis!

One Grandfather of mine who I never met (My Mother's Father), was named Shazam, which is such a great name. He was from the Penza area. Actually it was closer to Shah-zam, but we'll just refer to him as Shazam!
I loved this show when I was a child. It was part of the Shazam - Isis hour.
Big Round Jewelry sill makes me want to say "Oh Mighty Isis".
I like the name iLhan, but I've used the name Shazam! onstage more than one occasion. Grandpa Shazam! would be either be flattered or horrified.

Shazam had several siblings

In order of birth
1.Sister Nefisә (Ostri)- Mother of Talat Absi
2.Sister G
ölsum (Mөndihiy)- Mother of Әdip and Şәvkәt
3.Sister G
öljihan - killed by Russian soldiers
4.Grandfather Shah-zam - passed in China
5.Sister Afif
ә (Әfә Apa - Apuç)- lives in Istanbul
6.Sister Taifә (Tәvә)- lives in Ankara

Bezneng Ilneng Yegetlere

I've titled this song "Bezneng Ilneng Yegetlere" but I'm sure that's wrong. I'm learning this on accordion. The words may be a bit nationalistic, and maybe with a Soviet tinge, but the tune is great, regardless. ...something about "our men being brave and earning medals in war?"

this link is dead. I'm working on it.

I Would Buy All Of His Stuff - Farit Taishev

There isn't much amongst this gentleman's repertoire that I don't like.
This track is exceptional.

I wish his music was more readily available to purchase in the USA.
I would encourage you to buy anything and everything you can get your hands on. I'm looking forward to following his career and hoping for more high quality Tatar Pop from this Star.
and his name is Ferit Taishev.
Here's a Track

Alma Agachlari

Here's a friendly little number. It's called Alma Agachlari, which means, "Apple Trees".

Alma Agachlari

and a link to another post of "Tatar Apple Music".
and another here.

One of my Ebe's was famous for her Alma Belish, although I never ate it. I prefer chocolate and other stuff. I remember being grossed out by all the worms floating in the water while she'd soak the apples. She told me that that's how you remove the worms. I was amazed at how, in a single motion, Ebe could peel the entire apple with a knife, like Michaelangelo carving away. She'd give me the apple-peel spirals to munch on. She would cut with the knife exactly how they tell you not to in Boy Scouts, with the really super-sharp blade facing you, and approaching your thumb. If my Scoutmaster saw her doing that, he would've gotten really pissed off. I would've used a Potato-Peeler to be safer, myself.

My other Ebe was a pretty mediocre cook and I only remember Sari Butka from her. I think that's just scrambled eggs in rice, except Kap-Kaynar Chey of course. Kap Kaynar Chey seems to be the answer to a multitude of problems. She charmed you in a million other ways. Some Tatar foods can be very labor intensive. I've seen large crews of ladies working together half a day to make a single Chekchek. If they were wise, they'd organize into a Chekchek Worker's Union.

Pee Wee Herman and Tatars

A friend that worked at the "Pee Wee Herman Show" sent me this backstage photograph. This is a behind-the-scenes shot of Pee Wee enjoying It Belish. (This is from the episode where Tatars visit the playhouse)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Aeroflot Visits Lenin Heads Everywhere

You can travel and see Lenin Heads all over Russia with Aeroflot.
They used to have Package Vacations.
In Turkey, there are Attaturk heads everywhere. In Russian, Lenin Heads.
There is a statue of Abraham Lincoln in front of San Francisco City Hall.
I can't remember the last time I saw a George Washington Head.
In the Park where I play accordion, I sit with Beethoven, Verdi, Goethe and Francis Scott Key.

I'm hoping to add a "Superalisa" statue there myself. Maybe bronze, with a nice Kalfak.

Tatar Visitor To U.S.

This is from a local paper a few years back. I don't know the date or the paper. This was just tucked among my clippings.

Scotlandstan, Tatarstanning Yaninda

Tartan refers to fabric woven into plaid patterns representing clans (families) or regions in Scotland.

In old Scotland, the tartan was used for clothing and as a banner or flag. Because a family or community worked the cloth together, their clothing was made of the same patterns, and so a person could be recognized by the Tartan plaid that he wore. Tartans can also be designed as a symbol commemorating a special event or person.

I've heard more bad jokes over the years referring to "Tartare" sauce or the like. Occasionally someone will make the linguistic "connection" between Tartan plaid and Tatars. Years ago, someone had brought this to our attention. I replied by saying, "Yes, this is true. There is a connection between the British Isles and Tatarstan and if the ancient Stonehenge monument is viewed from above, It resembles a giant Peremech."

From what I understand, the furthest extent West of the Empire of Genghis Khan was Poland. I'd also think that British food would be better if we were involved.

Tatar Food At Safeway!

I love these. It's not exactly what you're supposed to call them, but I love these Tatar-Tots fresh from the oven with Aoili. (garlic mayonaise.) It's nice to have an array of dipping sauces for special occassions. Ketchup or Sweet&Sour sauce is nice. At the "Lucky" market close to my home, you can get a 5 pound bag for about 3 bucks! I was not served this in Kazan

Ash Bulsin!

now Tartar sauce is just Mayonaise with pickles to dip your fishsticks in. Tatar Tots with Tatar Sauce makes a truly delightful meal. Don't forget the Tartan Plaid tablecloth!

Steak Tartare (People are often pleased with themselves over this pun. The correct response is "How Original, I've never heard that one before" ) may work too, but we may be getting enough Protein already. I've heard stories about the naming of this food. (Doesn't it just mean RAW?) Someone told me it was about storing raw meat under a saddle while riding. NOW that sounds ridiculous enough to be true. I've heard myself saying, "It's Tatar, Not Tar Tar."

Татар Кешесе - Tatar Keshese

Гәрәй Рәхим

Татар Кешесе

болгарында болганган,
Уралында уралган,
Сараенда саргайган,
Суварыңда сызланган -
Синдер, Татар кешесе.

Себергә себерелгән,
Чиләбедә чиләнгән,
Оренбурда орылган,
Каргалыда каргалган -
Синдер, Татар кешесе.

Петербуры пытырдап,
Тукаеңны куркыткан,
Кытайдагы кытлыклар
Мөһаҗирең кырдырткан
Синең, татар кешесе.

Өргәнечтә өркегән,
Уфасында уфырган,
Касыймында кысылган,
Рязаньда разбой салган -
Син ул, татар кешесе.

Мәкәрҗәдә мекердәп,
Истамбулда ысланып,
Үзбәкләрдә үзгәреп,
Кырымнарда кырылып
Беттең, татар кешесе.

Французга яу чаптың,
Германга да яу чаптың,
Ул илләрдә ни таптың?

Күп вакытта үз җиреңнән,
Иделеңнен үз өеңнән,
Илеңнән колак кактың,
Яүгир татар кешесе.

Рудасын да син чаптың,
Күмерен дә син чаптың,
Балыгын да син тоттың,
Нефтен дә син таптың,
Үз-үзеңә суыгаяк,
Зимагур дип ат тактың,
Шаян татар кешесе.

Мәскәүдә бар үз өең,
Киевта бар үз көең,
Балтыйгында балкысың.
Чит җирдә дә туган телне,
Туган көйне ятлыйсың,
Моңлы татар кешесе.

Фин иле, япон иле,
Болгар һәм румын иле -
Барында да килмешәк,
Күчемсәк һәм йөремсәк
Булдың, татар кешесе.

Болай каңгырып йөрмә,
Кайт син туган илеңә,
Борынгылар түренә.
Бит куй Идел җиленә,
Баш куй болгар җиренә,
Әйдә,татар кешесе!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tatar Song Festival Concert From 1996

Occasionally the Tatar Community in Burlingame holds events that are larger in number than our Bina can handle, so we rent a hall at the Burlingame Recreation Center, or Women's Club.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Home The Music Shop 3

Here are some more. The classical guitar I've had since I was about 12 years old. It's Japanese and still has a rich smooth tone. I play it more than anything else, and no, it doesn't normally hang in front of a flag. The black one is a 6 string ukelele. It has that "plinky plink" sound of a ukelele, but you can express standard chords and standard guitar tuning. I found it in a music shop in Brugges, Belgium while on vacation. The gold accordion is from the Marin flea market and has a standard "Lawrence Welk" sound, tight bellows, 120 buttons. The Marin flea market is no longer there and is now an ugly shopping mall. My favorite vendor there was the man that would sit in front of the table covered with rocks. They weren't special rocks. He just liked them. The pink guitar I picked up in Boston. I called the airline from the music shop to see if they would let me take it home. The last time I played it onstage, someone afterwards asked me if it was "Real". I refer to it as my "Barbie" guitar. It has a sloppy surf twang that's really nice. The red one is a standard Fender Squire. I think every male in America should be given one of these upon High-School Graduation. "Congatulations, you've passed your Led Zeppelin Proficiency Exam, Here's your guitar!" The red one has been played to death and can only be played with massive distortion. The frets are almost gone.

You are never lonely with a guitar. It is no coincidence that they're that shape. I think it took Salvador Dali to show us when he painted the back of that naked lady. They just feel great in your hands.

Azuk Absi's Dinner Table

I think this is from Azuk Absi's dinner table in Istanbul sometime around 1970.

At the end of dinner, there was often a song. Sometimes Ebe would sing. Sometimes everyone would sing. Sometimes more than one song. It's difficult to not become emotional when listening to Ebe singing. She would hold both of your hands and sing into your face, like you were being held hostage. The last time she sang for me, she did again, her holding my hands and singing. She had broken her hip and my stepfather had worked out a free ticket on PanAm because I was bringing a walker and other medical supplies. She referred to her walker as "her Horse". The rest of the family was at the coast on Holiday, so I had an opportunity to spend some time with her. She loved being Tatar and loved Tatar music.

I don't know the name of this song, but I'm guessing it's "Tam".

The really loud man singing is our Zahuk Absi. He's no longer with us and was such a kind man.

Friday, August 15, 2008

American Turko-Tatar Association Of Burlingame - Salih Apakay

this history and snapshot is primarily from 1973

Shortly after the Russian Revolution of 1917, emigrants from Ufa, Kazan, Troisky and the neighboring province of Penza settled in the Far East. In the cities of Hailar, Harbin, Mukden, Tientsin Shanghai, Kobe, Tokyo, and Keijo, these emigrants of Tatar descent established communities, built mosques and schools so that their descendants would not suffer from illiteracy in their mother tongue.

Under the leadership of Muhammed Abdulhai Kurbanali, leader and Imam of the Tokyo Community, and the Central Committee of Religion and Culture of Mukden many books both religious and cultural were written and printed in order to teach us our language and religion and keep intact the ethnic tradition, our forefathers strove to preserve.

Until the post-World War 2 era, these communities led their lives much the same as their fathers. After 1950, unfavorable political changes in the Orient encouraged the Tatar people there to seek secure homes in other parts of the globe. These people emigrated to Turkey and Southern and Northern America. The present Turko-Tatar residents of New York and San Francisco are the descendants of these Tatar emigrants from Russia.
1973 marked the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first emigrants of Tatar descent to California, San Francisco and the neighboring cities. Among the first to settle were the Hasen Salih and Mutigullah Garifullin families, and Abdullah Zainasheff, a bachelor. In 1927 Abdullah Bay sailed to Shanghai and brought back as his bride Zaituna Akbirdin. These three families visited each other frequently in order to keep up the traditional religious and cultural customs. In 1932 Ismail Akbirdin, who had helped found the Turko-Tatar Association in Shanghai, joined them. He organized the first Aid'l Fitr prayers in his house and also invited the local Turkish and Pakistani Muslims to the prayers. Soon others followed the flow of immigration - Among them Faizurahman Bigeeff and his wife Rabiga.
In 1936 Ismail Akbirdin passed away. He was the first Tatar to be buried in California; his funeral was conducted by Abbas Ramazan, a local priest.

By 1960 the number of the Tatars living in California increased to 20, a further increase being anticipated through intermarriage.

The Tatars were a very small minority among the many nationalities in California. In order to preserve the traditions of their forefathers, a few individuals decided to organize the Tatar community. In April of 1960, Zahidulla Agish was elected chairman of the Nominating Committee and chaired the first meeting, which declared that the most important goals were the preservation of the cultural, ethnic and religious interests of the Tatar Community. Further, the meeting found a suitable name for the Community, elected officers, settled membership matters, and established bylaws.

On May 15th 1960, at the Odd Fellows Hall, Burlingame, the Community held its first plenary meeting. In all, the following Thirty members were present:
Zahidullah Agisheff
Ben Rogard
Rafiga Kody
Issac Akberdin
Faizurahman Bigeeff
Zaitune Zainasheff
Ilias MuhamadjanoffMurtaza Serefiddin
Talip Otus
Kelimullah Otus
Safa Akchurin
Hanife Otus
Ali Ibrahim
Mahmut Deus
Vakkas Arslan
Abdullah Azinasheff
Ayse TahirAsraf Agisheff
Fatima Serduke
Rabia Agergy
Razia Leonhardt
Ivet Bacon
Munire DiCaprio
Hanife Dashky
Rauza Rogard
Gulchera DashkyRabiga Begeeff
Shamil Akchurin
Sait Kilki
Rashid Akchurin

The Nomination Committee consisted of the following:

Zahidullah Agish
Said Kilki
Rashid Akchurin
Rabiga BigeeffRauza Rogard

It was moved and seconded:

a.) That the American Turko-Tatar Association, Incorporated be the name of the organization.
b.) That the purpose of the organization be to preserve the religion and culture of the Tatars.
c.) Those members shall be of Turko-Tatar descent. In the event of an intermarriage with another nationality, one of the members shall be of Tatar origin.
d.) That the initiation fee shall be $10.00.e.) That membership fees per year shall be as follows:

1. Head of household $12.00
2. Single Members $6.00
3. Students $3.00

The motion passed.

Elections were held at the Knights of Clumbus Hall, 217 Baldwin Avenue, San Mateo. Elected for the Board were:

President: Zahidullah AgishVice-President: Said Kilki
Secretary: Rashid Akchurin
Treasurer: Rabiga Bigeeff
Board of Directors:
Safa Akchurin
Abdullah Zainasheff
Fatih Gazizoff
Ivet Bacon
Rabiga Agergy
Rauza Rogard
The bylaws of the organization were drafted by Ben and Rauza Rogard and Said Kilki. After a prayer recited by Safa Akchurin, the members left for their homes with high hopes for the coming years.

In order to elect a slate of officers for the year, on May 17, 1960, a meeting was held in Mr. Faizurahman Bigeeff's home. the following slate was adopted:

President Zahidullah Agish
Vice-President Said Kilki
Secretary Rashid Akchurin
Treasurer: Rabiga Bigeeff
Board of Directors: Rauza Rogard
Mahmut Deus
Fatih Gazizoff
J. DiCaprio

The first meeting for the election of officers was to be held June 5, 1960. However, this day happened to fall on a religious holiday - Aid'l Kurban. After Aid prayers, the Community, 56 members in all, voted for the above slate of officers. They were sworn in; $265 was collected from new memberships for the treasury.
The first meeting of the Board took place in Said Kilki's home on June 10, 1960. For lack of a hall, later meetings were held in various members' homes. Similarly, the Tarawih prayers were held in residences. As each year passed, the need for a community center for these gatherings became greater, but lack of funds prevented the center from coming into being.

On July 10, 1960 the following committees were formed:

Membership Committee: A. Zainasheff
Finance Committee: S. Kilki
Cultural Committee: (Mrs.) R. Agergy
Entertainment Committee: (Mrs.) I. Bacon
Refreshment Committee: (Mrs.) R. RogardReligious Committee: S. Akchurin

After a long illness, our first president of the Community, Zahidullah Agish, passed away. (May God have mercy on his soul.) Upon his death, Said Kilki took over the responsibilities of the presidency. Mr. Hafiz Salich, an accountant, established a system and brought to order the bookkeeping matters of the Board. At about his time, the State Of California recognized our Community as a multi-ethnic, cultural and religious group, and as such, exempt from taxation.

The next meeting was held March 23rd, 1962 in Mr. Rashid Akchurin's home. The treasurer, Mrs. Rabiga Bigeeff, announced that a checking account had been opened in the American Turko Tatar Association's name in the amount of $930.25.

Before the establishment of the Tatar Community, the deceased were buried in any available plot of land in any cemetery. the necessity of a separate, ethnic cemetery plot for the Community launched a campaign of circulars, pamphlets and notices about the availability of a piece of land in the Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma. Mrs. Bigeeff and Mr. Safa Akchurin canvassed the entire Community from house to house and collected 52 pledges toward the purchase of the cemetery plots. Vakkas Arslan and Salih Yaus handled the distribution of the plots. The readying of the deceased for burial, such as Kafen and Jinaza prayers was mandated. The community signed a contract with Cypress Lawn for the purchase of 100 plots.
In order to accommodate the growing membership, the Community reevaluated its need for a center. Not only was a building necessary for meetings but also for cultural enrichment, religious lessons for the youngsters, Friday's obligatory prayers, Tarawih prayers during the month of Ramazan, and the observance of festivals. At a landmark meeting on January 27, 1966, the Board unanimously approved the purchase of a building at 1258 El Camino Real, Burlingame, at a cost not to exceed #35,000.

At an extraordinary meeting on January 30, 1966, at the home of Mushfika Utush, the following Board members were present:
Shamil Ibrahim
Ali Ibrahim
Fuad Sadri
Mushfika Utush
Asad Sezgen
Devletsha Sezgen
Talip Otus
Vakkas Arslan
The guests were Faizurahman Bigeeff, Ed Bacon, and Said Kilki.

It was decided to buy the building on El Camino Real for $30,250. The building was not suitable to the needs of the Community, so a task force on renovation was organized under the leadership of Ed Bacon. His assistants in this venture were:

Vakkas Arslan
Ali Ibrahim
Said Kilki
Shamil AkchurinMahmut Deus

To obtain a building permit and various licenses for the remodeling job, the following members volunteered:

Frank Bigeeff
Shamil IbrahimTalib Otus
Jack Leonhardt

An item was brought up from the floor:
Is it necessary to have a general vote of the Community in order to incorporate the ideas presented at the meeting of the Board?
An affirmative vote was cast in favor of not consulting the general Community on matters decided on by the Board.

On February 20, 1966 the following article appeared in the Burlingame Advance Star:

"Mosque on El Camino?

A Moslem religious and ethnic organization will present plans for an El Camino Real mosque to Burlingame planning commissioners tomorrow evening.
American Turko-Tatar Association Inc., seeks a special permit to use a home at 1258 El Camino Real for religious and educational purposes.
Shamil H. Ibrahim, President of the association, said the building would be used for weekly religious services on Fridays, and for daily evening services to be held each year during Ramadan, the Moslem month of fasting.The building would also be used for occasional religious lectures and for the Moslem equivalent of Sunday School. The Association holds an option under which it may purchase the property for $30,250.
Ibrahim said most of the 40 families who are active in the association live in or near the Burlingame area."

The majority of the Community was in favor of buying, renovating, and remodeling the building on El Camino Real. Therefore on behalf of the Community, Shamil Ibrahim submitted a petition for a remodeling permit to the California authorities. Under the supervision of the task force, those who were able, old and young, renovated the building. The women brought hot dishes for the workers from their kitchens, which made the day worthwhile. When it was evident that (but for an isolated case of help from Mr. Akchurin's friend in Japan) no outside help was forthcoming, the Community depended solely upon its own strength. A long letter explaining the need for material help from our brothers in Finland yielded no answer. The shortage of funds resulted in loss of time, yet within a year and a half from the start of the project, the building, capable of accommodating approximately 100 people, had a kitchen with dishes and utensils for the preparation of food. It also had a hall with tables and chairs, restrooms for gentlemen and ladies, and an office. The hall was decorated on either side with American and Turkish flags.

Abbas Ramazan led the prayers for many years until old age and ill health forced him to retire from his post as Imam for the Community. Upon his retirement Devletsha Sezgen took over the responsibilities of the Imam. On October 30, 1970, Mr. Devletsha passed away from a sudden illness. Upon his demise Hasan Kilki filled this important position. God grant him long life. (eventually was Abdurahim Kurmanay, then presently Abduldayyan Safa)
Religious Lessons

To bring an awareness of our dependence on God and our belief in Him and His commands is our foremost responsibility toward our children. In order to instill this reverence of God in our children, during the month of October 1964, with the help of the Parents' Committee, the foundation of a religious class was laid. Shemsiye Apakay was requested to take on the task of instructing the children in the principles of Islam. Successfully, she conducted classes until 1968 for children 6 to 12 years old. The classes were held in 22 homes, in turn, until the purchase of the building. At the present time, during religious holidays and Tarawih prayers, the children start the Salawat chant taught by Mrs. Apakay.

After a few dormant years, In March of 1973, the Islamic Center of San Francisco was requested to have their teacher instruct the Peninsula children in the Islamic Principles in the English language. A religious/cultural committee was formed of Fazil Sadri, Serpil Otus, Tahir Devletsah, and Sevket Torpis.

Until the close of the year, these lessons ran smoothly under the tutelage of Sohrab Ali Khan and Babur. The children were grouped into the primary and more advanced classes. the Committee was always ready with refreshments during a class break and saw to it that the students observed discipline. The 24th of June, 1973 saw the first graduation ceremony of the Islamic classes. The teachers' families, the Committee members and the general public were invited. Imam Hasan Kilki opened the ceremony with a short prayer. This was an unforgettable moment in the history of the Community. A speech of appreciation was read to Sohrab Ali Khan and his son Babur for giving their time to the children without compensation. The students presented the teachers with a gift and then the refreshments were served. The meeting adjourned, everyone returning to his home with hopes that the foundation laid for cultural enrichment by Shemsiye Apakay and Sohrab Ali Khan would continue and become an inherent part of Community activities.
Women's Auxiliary

The Women's Auxiliary was an important addition to the delegation of responsibilities by the Board. The proceeds from the yearly events such as Sharik Kichesi, which was held in a rented club, and rummage sales helped the Board meet its expenses. The work involved many hours of preparation for the women of the Auxiliary, such as preparation of ethnic foods for refreshments for the congregation after prayers. The first Gala Dinner Dance was held on June 22, 1062. It was well attended and a tremendous success. Subsequent yearly dinner-dances were held in rented halls. We might mention here that the first Sabantoyu (sic) was first organized on August 23, 1962and the first rummage sale on October 29, 1962.
Each year a new slate of officers was presented to the Community for its vote and elections were held in the homes of members and later, when the Community had purchased its building, in the building. The following is a chronological list of the Women's auxiliary officers.

President Rauza Rogard
Secretary Aisha Stickel
Treasurer Ivet Bacon
President Hanife Sezgen
Secretary Rahile Sadri
Treasurer Alime Deus

President Almira Priedeberg
Vice P. Ivet Bacon
Secretary Rahile Sadri
Treasurer Razia Leonhardt
President Rauza Rogard
Secretary Rukiye Gardner
Treasurer Emine Denney

President Ivet Bacon
President Reise Hakim
Secretary Almira Priedeberg
Treasurer Tassie Kilki

President Safiye Agi
Secretary Almira Stone
Treasurer Rukiye Gardner
President Anisa Zainasheff
Secretary Vesika Allen
Treasurer Raziy Muhamedcani

President Tassi Kilki
Secretary Almira StoneTreasurer Nerkis Geiling

Young People's Circle

On December 12, 1965, under the supervision of Esat Sezgen, the Yeshler Tugeregi organization was formed. The purpose of the Circle was to acquaint the youth with Turko-Tatar customs to enable them to assume the responsibility of pursuing the goals of the Community. The young people organized parties, helped the Board supervise the children's games during Sabantuy, and in many ways helped the Board with the organization of yearly events.

In 1968 the Turkish Delights' softball team was organized. The team did very well, playing against 14 San Mateo teams and taking first place in each instance. This year - 1973 - they won the second-place trophy.

The department of drama, composed entirely of amateur volunteers of the Community, presented their first play based on a novel by Kerim Nadir, called Namus Bekchisi. The two-act play was translated into the Tatar Language by Nerkis Gieling and Sufiye Sezgen. The actors who took part were Emir Otus, Tahir Devletsah, Sufiye Sezgen, and Nerkis Gieling. This play was publicized in the Turkish Cultural Journal by Talat Tekin in Turkey.

Esat Sezgen on the right
in The First Theater

In 1969 Asad Kenal's comedy The First Theater, was produced under the directorship of Rauza Rogard. It was a play depicting the life of a Tatar family of the 19th century, complete with the costumes and props of the times. It was a huge success. The actors were Esat Sezgen, Nuriye Serefiddin, Tahir Devletsah, Rustu Agi, Sufiye Sezgen, Nerkis Gieling, and Ravil Serefiddin.

These five images above from The Master and the Clerk.

In 1972, with the help of the Young People's Circle and the Women's Auxiliary, a 3-act comedy called The Master and the Clerk was presented. This was held in a rented building in the Burlingame area. On opening night the auditorium was filled to capacity, and when the last curtain fell, there was a standing ovation. For this play, ladies' costumes were sewn by the actors themselves, and the men rented the appropriate costumes, wigs and make-up to emulate the atmosphere of the 19th century. One of the lines of the play - Alimjan Bey's often repeated remark - "Yakshe soylimme, min?" (Do I speak well?) captured the audience and was echoed for many months afterwards.

The Master And The Clerk
Director - Rauza Rogard
Prompter - Reise Hakim

Alimjan (merchant) - Ibrahim Yaus
Bibisara (his wife) - Rauza Yangoras
Bibijenal (their daughter) - Nuriye Serefiddin
Sadik (bankrupt merchant) - Salih Apakay
Alim (apprentice to merchant) - Rustu Agi
Safiye (widow) - Sara Ibrahim
Fahrenisa (matchmaker) - Raziye Muhamedcani
Asma (maid) - Halide Deus

Other Cultural Events

In 1970, Shemsiye and Salih Apakay transferred the folklore and songs from available records obtained from New York and Russia onto tapes and treated the Community to an enjoyable afternoon of music at the Center. So that those present could "sing along" with the records, the words of the music were distributed. during five gatherings, approximately 150 songs were played. the elders of the Community did not miss a "concert," but the younger generation did not express an interest in this aspect of Tatar culture. The main purpose of the concerts was to give the young people a heritage of music to be remembered in years to come. In 1971, during March, April, and May a history of the Turks from the decline of the Kazan Khans was heard with the same lack of enthusiasm by the youth of the Community.

In April of 1973, the Cultural Committee planned a "Tukay" day to celebrate the 87th anniversary of the birth of the beloved poet Abdullah Tukay. Turan Kilki spoke briefly about the life of the poet; several children recited poems in Tatar, among them the following:

Ilhan Sadri "To The Birds"
Bulent Sadri "Happy Child"
Banu and Turan Otus "Child and the Butterfly"

It was decreed that henceforth "Tukay" day would be an annual event on the calendar of the Community.


The first Newsletter for the Community was published and distributed by Roger Gieling during the first part of 1973. This lively, entertaining, and interesting free communication helps keep the members abreast of local Community news and is the harbinger of events such as Bayram, parties, and meetings. It is eagerly read by all, family members translating into Tatar for those who don't read English.

The names and addresses of the members of the Community are listed in a directory that is updated each year and distributed as a service to the Community.

At a general meeting held the 15th of June 1973, a quorum having been established, the following officers were elected for the new board:

President Asad Sezgen
Vice President Rustu Agi
Secretary Roger Gieling
Treasurer Vildan Apakay
Board Members Ravil Agish
Ivet Bacon
John Leonhardt
Talip Otus

We wish the new Board success in the coming year, and to convey our appreciation to the former past presidents, officers, and the Board members for their untiring efforts in continuing the existence of our Community, and wish their families a prosperous and long life.

Author : Salih Apakay
Translated by: Anisa Zainasheff
Translation Date: January, 1976


Courses with Cyrillic Alphabet

Salih and Shemsiye Apakay have been receiving regularly two magazines from Kazan since 1966, one being entitled,"Emancipated Women" and the other "Idel". In 1988, a group visited Kazan and brought back many books written in Cyrillic and this is where the interest began to learn and read Cyrillic. "As learning and knowledge takes no holiday", this was the beginning of the Cyrillic courses conducted in the evenings by Salih Apakay to that we can appreciate and read the books in Cyrillic.

Sark Kicesi

Since 1963, Sark Kicesi has been an active social as well as fund-raising event in our community. Our 27th Annual Sark Kicesi was held in November 1991 at the State Room in South San Francisco with overwhelming success. Guests from Turkey, Canada, Finland, New York and Nevada were also present. An interesting point to consider in the history of immigrated Tatars is that Sark Kicesi was first held in 1921 in Harbin.

Religious Courses

From 1964 to 1968, the religious courses were conducted by Shemsiye Apakay and Tahir Devletsah. From 1979 to 1982, the religious courses were conducted by Tahir Devletsah. In 1986 Meryem Apakay and Mounir Kaddouri conducted the Koran alphabet and translation of the meaning of the suras. (sic)
We thank them all for their generous services and time.

Community Imam

With the passing of Imam Hasan Kilki in 1979
(May God have mercy on his soul.) , our present day Imam is Abdurrahim Kurmanay.
(and now Abduldayyan Safa)


The Directory has been active on an annual basis. According to our 1990 records, the paying membership accounted to 260 people. 1989 marks 1100 years of embracing of Islam by our ancestors, the Bulgar Turks. For this auspicious occasion, an invitation was received from the Mufti in Kazan by our community as well as the community in New York. The Burlingame A.T.T.A. elected Sait Kilki and Shemsiye Apakay as their representatives of the Burlingame A.T.T.A. to attend the function in Kazan.

Translated by Nermin Deus
March 1992