Almaty, a city at the foot of the Ile Alatau mountain range, is home to the Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments. There, in a Russian-style wooden structure once known as the “officer’s house”, a man sings and plays the dombyr, a type of two-stringed lute. Afterward, he offers to sell you an unlabelled cassette, undoubtedly self-recorded, that includes a slip of typewritten notes which is signed,Abylai”.