Yol Bolsin (Real World/Narada, 2003)
Real World Records has released some of the most beautiful music composed and sung by women. Joining
the ranks of such divas as Yungchen Lhamo and Estrella Morente is 25-year old Uzbeki star
Sevara Nazarkhan. A celebrity among young women in her home, Tashkent, Sevara carries on a regal
tradition of the solo woman court musician. She brings to us music of Central Asia (Uzbekistan, once a member of the Soviet Union), that combines melodies plucked on a doutar (a lute), with minimal percussion and mesmerizing soprano vocals. Sevara’s debut release on Real World, Yol Bosin (Where Are You Going?) is a culmination of several centuries and another treasure from the Silk Route.
Sevara, a direct descendent to a musical past that dates back to the 1600’s, blends traditional music with pop sensibility while blurring the boundaries between entertainment and ritual music. The same music played at weddings and other rites of passage ceremonies also substitutes as a commercial release that meets the demands of Uzbeki consumers. Of course, you will find the same scenario played out in Turkey, Greece and other parts of the world where ceremonial music is massed produced for public demand.
Yol Bosin features folk, Sufi and peasant songs in which Sevara takes a few liberties singing about taboo subjects. For instance, My Dearest Song, reflects on hope of marrying someone outside of the arranged marriage tradition. In Sevara’s favorite song, Gadir, white snake symbolizes freedom and heartache. The lyrical Soginomai Bayot and El Nozanin showcase Sevara’s immaculate vocals and range. Most of the songs are rooted in the Near or Middle East and at times, Sevara’s voice could be compared to that of a classical Persian vocalist. This traditional music can also be linked to shamanistic traditions in Central Asia, although it was the male bards called bakhshi that used music to connect to their spiritual ancestors and not the women vocalists.
Produced by French producer Hector Zazou and featuring musical master Toir Kuziyev (doutar), Yol Bosin
offers us a haunting and exotic musical tapestry by a new and exciting feminine voice. Sevara’s timeless songs already feel like classics even if they have not yet come into blossom. The songs are soft yet edgy, ethereal yet earthy, ancient and contemporary.
(Compliments of Cranky Crow World Music).