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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gochag Askarov's Mugham


Freshly issued from Azerbaijan... last disk by Gochag Askarov and his group: Mugham.

Mughamat (plural of mugham) is the classical heritage of Azerbaijani traditional musical culture declared by UNESCO a “masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of the world” (2003). It has preserved its archaic musical language till present. Mugham is distinguished by emotional sophistication. In some writings it is introduced as “the art of emotional states”. Its artistic idea is, indeed, to express the subtlest emotional states of the human soul in their great diversity.
The art of mughamat is inseparable from Azerbaijani classical poetry and from the Aruz, an old Eastern quantitative system of versification.
The Mugham may be performed as a vocal-instrumental cyclic composition, or as a solo instrumental piece played on almost the all of traditional musical instruments. Solo instrumental mugham came in Azerbaijani musical practice in the beginning of the 20th century.
Mugham performing demands exceptional musical memory and ear from the musician to keep in mind the whole mugham repertoire, and the ability to improvise, that is, a certain composer gift. Many of performers are known as authors of such traditional (measured) pieces as Tasnif, Reng and Deramed. The mughams are not subjected to new creation now; nevertheless, the performer is free to improvise within the frames of certain mode and music vocabulary. Depending on his/her knowledge, musical memory and the duration given, performer can reduce or expand the composition, give different emotional nuances to the music, and vary the melody in an individual way, however, keeping its key-modal structure and key- melodic formulas.
GOCHAG ASKAROV (b. 1978), the singer-soloist of the ensemble Turan is distinguished for his beautiful voice of rare emotional power and passion. Western musical press compares his singing manner with that of Nusrat Fateh Ali khan, a prominent Pakistan singer, the cult figure of Eastern vocal art.
GOCHAG ASKAROV performed at concert stages in the USA (2007), the UK (2007, 2009), at the WOMAD festivals in the UK (2009), Australia and New Zealand (2010); he was featured in the BBC “World Routes” programs (2007, 2008, 2009), as well as in the programs of Australian National Radio (2010), and in the documentary «Mugham in Montana» of an American journalist Thomas Goltz (see the documentary on www.youtube.com). His discography includes two CDs released in abroad – one by ARC Music Productions company (UK, 2008), and another by Australian «Bird Walks Records» (2010). See his website www.qochaqesgerov.az for more information.

A superb disk, folks... sure worth a listen.

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