Nomads, Mystics, and Troubadours of Central Asia Tour North America in 2007

New York (NY), USA – Seventeen musicians from Central Asia, a culturally dynamic and rapidly changing region, will share their mastery of traditions at once ancient and contemporary in an 11-city North American tour beginning on October 12th. The tour, “Spiritual Sounds of Central Asia: Nomads, Mystics, and Troubadours,” will provide North American audiences with a rare opportunity to hear music from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Qaraqalpakstan (an autonomous region in Uzbekistan). Concerts will feature a panoramic range of vocal and instrumental music that showcases some of Central Asia’s finest performers.The artists, several of whom are making their North American debuts, will include the legendary Azerbaijani vocalist Alim Qasimov, whom the French newspaper Le Monde hailed as “one of the most beautiful voices of our era,” and his daughter Fargana; Bardic Divas, four women from Kazakhstan and Qaraqalpakstan who demonstrate the power and beauty of the female voice; and the Badakhshan Ensemble, which performs trance-inducing mystical songs from the majestic Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, an area known in Persian as bam-i dunya, “the roof of the world.” 

The concerts will include introductory documentary films about the featured musicians; supertitles with translations of song lyrics; and live, large-screen video close-ups. In addition, the tour will include children’s programs, university lectures and residencies, pre-concert discussions and museum presentations.

The 2007 tour is a groundbreaking collaboration between the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia (AKMICA), a program of the Geneva-based Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), and the New York-based World Music Institute (WMI). The Music Initiative aims to preserve and nurture the indigenous musical traditions of Central Asia, and to ensure the transmission of the region’s musical heritage to new generations of artists and audiences. WMI, a renowned performing arts presenter, is dedicated to presenting the finest traditional music and dance from around the world.

Through our Touring Program, we strive to celebrate Central Asian musical traditions in parts of the world where they are little known,” said AKMICA Director Fairouz Nishanova. “Concert tours not only introduce this unique music to global audiences, but promote respect for the musicians and the traditions they represent within Central Asia itself.

AKMICA consultant and tour curator Theodore Levin, a professor of music at Dartmouth College, added: "International touring helps musicians in Central Asia address one of the principal artistic challenges of our time: how to nourish global connections while retaining a link to art rooted in a sense of place and tradition."

We are very excited to be part of this tour, “ said Isabel Soffer, WMI’s Director of Programming. “One of our primary goals is to promote cultural understanding, and this joint project fits our mission well. This tour has the potential to draw large numbers of people to the riches of Central Asian culture through the concerts, which are taking place at some of North America’s leading performing arts centers, and the important outreach component.”

Spiritual Sounds of Central Asia: 2007 Tour Dates

Friday, October 12, 2007: TORONTO, ON
Roy Thomson Hall – 8:00PM

Sunday, October 14, 2007: BOSTON, MA
Sanders Theater, Harvard University – 7:30PM

Thursday, October, 18, 2007: ROCHESTER, NY
Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music – 8:00PM

Sunday, October, 21, 2007: CLEVELAND, OH
Cleveland Museum of Natural History – 7:30PM

Wednesday, October, 24, 2007: ANN ARBOR, MI
Lecture Demonstration at the University Musical Society of the University of Michigan – 11:00AM
Michigan Center at 8:00PM

Saturday, October, 27, 2007: NEW YORK, NY
Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall – 7:30PM

Sunday, October, 28, 2007: COLLEGE STATION, TX
Frymire Auditorium, Texas A&M University – 8:00PM

Monday, October, 29, 2007: COLLEGE STATION, TX
Lecture Demonstrations (4) at Texas A& M, Department of Performance Studies (Times TBD)

Tuesday, October, 30, 2007: HOUSTON, TX
Wortham Center – 8:00PM – SOLD OUT

Wednesday, October 31, 2007: HOUSTON, TX
Lecture Demonstrations (2) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – 10:15AM & 11:30AM

Friday, November 2, 2007: LOS ANGELES, CA
Royce Hall, UCLA – 8:00PM

Saturday, November 3, 2007: CLAIRMONT, CA
Lecture Demonstration at the Little Bridges Hall of Music, Pomona College – 8:00PM

Monday, November 5, 2007: SANTA BARBARA, CA
Campbell Hall, University of California Santa Barbara – 8:00PM

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: SANTA BARBARA, CA
Lecture Demonstration (2) at University of California Santa Barbara – 2:00PM & 6:00PM

Friday, November 9, 2007: CHICAGO, IL
Chicago Symphony Hall – 8:00PM