Azerbaijan mugham music makes revival





Once threatened with extinction, Azerbaijan's most ancient form of music is enjoying a renaissance. Mugham - a unique genre blending throaty song with a special trio of instruments - is being revived by the government through a series of festivals and school activities, as the BBC's Tom Esslemont discovers.

Intoxicating. Passionate. Throaty.

Those are the first words which come to mind as I attempt to describe the sound of mugham.

Warbling, rousing and spiritual come next.

It is my first encounter with a brand of music that has been alive for hundreds of years. Its flavour combines war chant and love song.

To me, sat in a restaurant in suburban Baku, listening to mugham, it feels like I am being transported back about 800 years.

In the corner there sits a group of musicians wearing flamboyant costumes: gold and red waistcoats, embroidered hats.

A bejewelled woman in a long gold dress stands up to sing. The musicians pick up their instruments - a daf (tambourine), a kamancha (long four-stringed violin) and a tar (lute)....



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