Artist Profiles: Alim Qasimov

Alim Qasimov
Alim Qasimov

Alim Qasimov, born in 1957 in Shamakha is an Azerbaijani musical legend, revered as one of the five best singers of all time. Qasimov is known for his work in traditional Azerbaijani music and more specifically his renderings of mugham and ashiq.

Mugham is a traditional, or classical, musical style which has its origins in the Caucasus and the Turkish-speaking peoples of Central Asia. The word mugham itself derives maqam, denoting the modus in Arabic music, The notion of mugham also applies to the performers: the singer, and the ensemble. Within the latter you’ll always find three instruments: the tar (lute), the standing kamanche (violin) and the daf.

Ashiq, the rural bardic tradition that is found in Turkey, Azerbaijan and the Azeri region of Iran.

Qasimov has released several albums, toured the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals and in 1999, won the prestigious UNESCO Music Prize, one of the highest international accolades that a musician can hope for. Previous laureates have included Dmitri Shostakovich, Leonard Bernstein, Ravi Shankar and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Alim Qasimov has also participated in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, a celebration of the art and culture of the ancient Silk Road.

Fargana Qasimova, Alim’s daughter, has absorbed her father’s musical gift, and is well on the way to becoming a great singer in her own right.

Discography:

Classical Mugham (1996)
The Legendary Art of Mugham (Network, 1997)
The Art of Mugham: Azerbaijan (Ocora, 1997)
Love’s Deep Ocean (Network, 1999)
Spirit of the East, with Esti Kenan Ofri (Magda Music, 2000)
Oyanish (2003)
Central Asian Series, Vol. 6: Spiritual Music of Azerbaijan (Smithsonian Folkways, 2007)
Intimate dialogue – Live at Morgenland Festival Osnabrück (2009)
Rainbow: Music Of Central Asia Vol. 8 [CD + DVD] (Smithsonian Folkways, 2010)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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