Shashmaqam (Tajikistan-Uzbekistan) & Tengir Too (Kyrgyzstan) at Musical Workshop Labyrinth

Choudetsi, Crete, Greece –
Musical Workshop Labyrinth presents
Central Asia Project, featuring Shashmaqam (Tajikistan-Uzbekistan) & Tengir Too
(Kyrgyzstan). the concert takes place June 17, 2005. Opening time: 9:00/ Ticket
Price: 15E.

Academy of Shashmaqam:Abduvali Abdurashidov – Artistic Director and sato
Nasiba Amanbayeva – vocal
Azada Ashurova – vocal
Jamshed Ergashev – vocal
Kamaliddin Hamdamov – tanbur and vocal
Hurshed Ibrahimov – vocal
Murad Jumayev – vocal and dayra
Sirajiddin Jurayev – dutar
Zumrad Samijanova – vocal

Shashmaqam is the best known of a pleiades of classical vocal and instrumental
repertories that flourished in the great cities of Central Asia: Samarkand,
Bukhara, Tashkent, Khiva, Qoqand. The roots of Shashmaqam are linked most
strongly with– historically multicultural cities where performers and audiences
have included Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Central Asian (Bukharan) Jews.

With its Sufi-inspired texts, lyrical melodies, and austere instrumental
accompaniment, Shashmaqam comprises music of great refinement and profound
beauty that spans the entire gamut of traditional social life, from prayer to

Transformed during the Soviet era into a cantata-like genre performed by a
choir and small orchestra of indigenous instruments, Shashmaqam is presently
undergoing a restoration whose vitality comes from the rediscovery and
reanimation of older, more authentic performance styles.

In Tajikistan, the leader of this movement is Abduvali Abdurashidov, who,
with support from the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia (AKMICA),
created his Academy of Shashmaqam to offer rigorous training to a highly select
group of talented young performers.

By reducing his ensemble to the essentials – a few voices, frame drum, and
two or three long-necked lutes, including the rarely heard sato (bowed tanbur) –
Abdurashidov achieves a remarkable clarity of texture and suppleness of form.
His work instills new life in one of the great musical traditions of the Islamic
world, and confirms the important place of Shashmaqam in any musical map of


Nurlanbek Nyshanov – Artistic Director, wooden and metal jew’s harp, sybyzgy,
choor, chopo choor
Gulbara Baigashkaeva – komuz and jew’s harp
Zainidin Imanaliev – vocal and komuz
Rysbek Jumabaev – manaschi (Manas epic reciter)
Kenjekul Kubatova – vocal and komuz
Asylbek Nasirdinov – komuz, jew’s harp, qyl qiyak
Azamat Otunchiev – qyl qiyak

Tengir-Too is a new ensemble that plays old music. The group takes its name from
the eponymous mountain range that towers over the high alpine passes linking
Kyrgyzstan and China, and is better known by its Chinese name, Tien-Shan, or
“Celestial Mountains.”

Founded and directed by Nurlanbek Nyshanov, a gifted composer, arranger, and
multi-instrumentalist who grew up in the city of Naryn, Tengir-Too provides a
living laboratory for Nyshanov’s efforts to find a voice for Kyrgyz music in the
contemporary cultural marketplace.

Kyrgyz music is rooted in the sensibility of nomads who inhabit an
awe-inspiring landscape of mountains, lakes, and pristine grasslands. During the
Soviet era, however, much of this music was lost or adapted to European musical
ideals. Nurlanbek Nyshanov has helped restore its integrity and authenticity,
not through an uncritical attempt to reproduce tradition, but by innovating
within it.

Nyshanov draws on his compositional skills to craft striking arrangements for
small ensembles of repertories formerly performed by solo players. Most
recently, he collaborated with Rysbek Jumabaev, a reciter of the great Kyrgyz
epic tale Manas, and with performers from the Silk Road Project, founded and
directed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, to create a multimedia presentation of the Manas.
The Manas production was performed at the British Library and at Carnegie Hall
through a collaboration between the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia (AKMICA)
and the Silk Road Project.

Other members of Tengir-Too include Kenjegul Kubatova, whose lush alto voice
is the perfect medium for Kyrgyz lyrical song, Gulbara Baigashkaeva, a master
performer on the komuz – the three-stringed lute that Kyrgyz regard as their
national instrument, and Asylbek Nasirdinov, who plays the qyl-qiyak, a
two-stringed upright fiddle with archaic ties to shamanism. Special guest
Zainidin Imanaliev illustrates an older performance tradition – the virtuoso
soloist who is at once master instrumentalist, singer, and entertainer.

[Photo: Shashmaqam].

Author: kellythoma