A Tapestry of Sacred Music 2016 Alim & Fargana Qasimov: performed in Azeri
17 April 2016
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Mugham, or magma in some cultures, is a classical Azerbaijani folk music form that carries the cultural and spiritual values of its people. Highly complex and developed, it combines poetry with musical improvisation, and contains elements of mythology and spiritual mysticism.
It was from attending his many performances of mughams and popular bardic songs sung by ashiqs (early Eastern singer-songwriters) that prominent singer Alim Qasimov's daughter, Fargana, discovered her flair for the music. And it is through this sacred form that that the father-daughter duo exemplifies the explosive artistic energy that results when a powerful musical model ignites the spark of young talent.
Both mugham and ashiq songs are featured in this evening's performance. The Qasimovs are accompanied by a quartet of young musicians whose talents were shaped both by formal music education and immersion in Azerbaijani oral tradition. "When I meet with the musicians in my ensemble," says Alim Qasimov, "there's an atmosphere that starts to nourish us that comes from beyond our own will, and that's the source of the unpredictability in our music. It's almost a feeling of ecstasy that leads to a kind of meditation."
In 1999, Alim Qasimov was awarded the prestigious IMC-UNESCO International Music Prize for performers-the same award received in previous years by Ravi Shankar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Yehudi Menuhin, and Benny Goodman. He performs regularly in major concert venues throughout the world and has collaborated with pop and classical artists, including Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.