Azerbaijani traditional folk music, mugham, was presented by the Shirvan group at the largest music festival of the East, "Sharq Taronalari" ("Melodies of the Orient"), held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on August 25-30.
The Azerbaijani delegation includes mugham singer Elnara Abdullayeva, adviser to the department of cultural policy of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Rashad Aliyev, honored art worker Zumrud Dadasheva and others.
This biennial event, which was established in 1997 under the auspices of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, included over 50 countries and almost 20 amateur groups from Latvia, Burkina Faso, Russia, Japan, Turkey, Austria, Georgia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Britain, China, France, Madagascar, the United States, Thailand, the Czech Republic, South Korea, Spain, Estonia, and Egypt.
The 11 members of the international jury from 10 countries assessed the skills of the musical event participants. More than 30 foreign and 200 local journalists covered the event. An international conference was held within the festival.
The main objective of the project is to contribute to strengthening the ties of friendship and mutual understanding between the people and boost the development of national music and song art, uniting people with different languages, culture and customs.
The international jury awarded Indian representatives with the Grand Prix of the festival. Musicians from Afghanistan and Burkina Faso were announced the winners.
The second place was shared by representatives of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea and China. The third place was taken by Abror Zufarov from Uzbekistan and groups from Japan and Austria. In addition, several participants were awarded special prizes.
According to the secretary of Azerbaijan Composers Union Lala Huseynova, the large audience at Melodies of the Orient, the high level of the scientific conference held on the sidelines of the festival, and the exchange of creative experience between the performers give a strong impetus to greater development of traditional music and high public interest in it.
"It's not a secret that performers of ethnic music do not have such a large audience as stage singers. At the same time, the traditional music art requires a lot of knowledge, talent and dedication. I think such popularization of traditional musical art, which is fostered by "Shark taronalari", is very important at the present time. In Azerbaijan more and more young people appear among mugam and ashug music performers, for whom such festivals are a great incentive for consistent creative perfection. Undoubtedly, the excellent organization of the festival in Samarkand also contributes to this," Huseynova said, thanking the government and all those who contributed to making this happen.