|Beauties of Uzbekistan|
Many years ago…before 9/11, before Osama, before it seems, The Flood, I lived for a while in Central Asia. In the heart of the ‘Stans. Dushanbe, (Tuesday Market) was my base but I often had to travel to the surrounding countries for all sorts of reasons: banking, shopping, recreation, transit to holidays and meetings.
It was a difficult place to live. Electricity was sporadic. The internet almost unheard of. Water muddy. Government = gansters. You get the picture.
But there was no escaping the awesome beauty of the high desert steppe or the faded grandeur of what was once the very center of civilised thinking and art. Spending days wandering through the ruins of Bokhara with its gigantic bleached mud walls and austere minars, mosques and once-world famous academies of learning will remain one of my life’s great memories. Samarkand, still a vibrant industrial city, was equally stunning in its blue tiled sparkling livery.
In an attempt to relive that part of the past, I share with you tonight the debut album of Sevara Nazarkhan (also spelled Nazarxhon) a young Uzbek artist who has gathered a considerable following thanks to Peter Gabriel’s Real World Music label.
The dichotomy between ancient and modern exists within Sevara's oeuvre. In Tashkent, Uzbekistan's capital, she is a pop star. Her first group in 1998 was a soulful women's quartet. During this period, she also sang in the city's popular arts café, Taxi Blues. A year later, she released her debut album and established herself as a solo singer. Despite her choice of western musical forms, her roots are apparent.
Sevara's father, formerly a vocalist of European classical music, headed the traditional music department in Tashkent radio before his retirement. Her mother teaches traditional string instruments and is the director of an extracurricular music school. For a number of years Sevara studied voice at the Tashkent State Conservatoire, where folk music is a rigorously taught and transmitted musical art under the country's formidable singers and ethnomusicologists. (http://realworldrecords.com/artists/sevara-nazarkhan)
The music on this album is that of a confident and accomplished artist. A beautiful mix of traditional Uzbek string instruments (dotar) and drums with contemporary Buddha Bar-esque aural structures around it.
Very satisfying music--as lush as a Ferghana garden in the spring.
02 Soqinomai Bayot
03 Adolat Tanovari
04 Ei Nozanin (Beautiful)
05 Yol Bolsin (Where Are You Going)
07 Moghulchai Navo (Mochul Melody)
09 Orik Gullaganda (When Apricot Blossoms)
11 Alla (Bahtimga Lullaby)