A guide to the New East
New East 100



The Tajik singer who found fame through Instagram

When you think of Instagram stars, you most likely imagine photographers, models and fashion designers. Innovative Dushanbe-born singer-songwriter Manizha use the website to secure her place on the music scene.

Bringing her fusion of blue-eyed soul and traditional sounds to a tech-savvy audience, Manizha claims to have created the world's first Instagram music album.


A post shared by MANIZHA⠀ (@manizha) on

Beginning in early December 2016, Manizha released one song per week from her album Manuscript, accompanied by a DIY-style video. Her simple but striking homemade aesthetic has garnered the rising star fans from all over the world.

Look familiar? Fans in the Russian-speaking world may have a sense of déjà vu — back in 2009 Manizha, then performing under the name Ru.Kola, gained fame across the post-Soviet space for her song “Neglect”. Since reinventing herself, Manizha has collaborated with a number of musicians and producers in Moscow, where she has long been based, and even opened for Lana Del Rey in St Petersburg.


Text: Elise Morton

More from Music

Summer playlist

10 scorching New East hits to bring some sun to your soundtrack

Exit Festival

How Serbian students partied to help bring down Slobodan Milošević

Gacha Bakradze

Ring in the summer with this Georgian producer's blissful beach-ready sound

Alternative summer festivals

From flooded quarries to medieval forts, dance the night away in these spectacular spots

20ft Radio

The shipping container in central Kiev that's the coolest place to party


What to do in Kazakhstan's cultural capital