Sharq Taronalari on the Silk-road

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Words like silk-road and Samarkand had always conjured up a sense of antiquity in my mind and many a time have I seen the picture of a beautiful standing structure that almost looked like Taj Mahal, not knowing it was called Registan Square. I have been wanting to travel there one day and what better time to do it than Sharq Taronalari, a music festival that I heard about only a few years ago. The 5-day biennale of traditional Asian music is being organised at the Registan Square in Samarkand since 1997. And the city of Samarkand is under the UNESCO world heritage list.

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2019 festival featured artists from 31 countries. The performances were evaluated by a jury consisting of musicologists and composers from different countries. On the closing day, awards were presented to the winners under various categories for three places besides a Grand-Prix winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Museums, handicraft centres and hotels in Samarkand hosted exhibitions that presented the history of the festival in photographs, products of national handicrafts and musical instruments. Within the framework of the festival, an international academic and practical conference entitled “Prospects for the development of traditional musical art of the peoples of the East” was held during the day. Musicologists from more than 10 countries did the presentations while the musical performances were slated for the evenings.

The closing ceremony saw hundreds of local musicians and dancers perform at the sprawling square with the Registan madrasas as the backdrop.

Teams from Tajikistan (the “Badakhshan” collective) and from Russia (the “Ayarkhan” collective), as well as representatives of Uzbekistan – Azizjon Abduazimov and Ulugbek Elmurodzoda, were awarded third place diplomas, a cash prize of 2 thousand USD and gifts.
The second place was awarded to “Archabil” from Turkmenistan and “Hatan” from Mongolia. They were awarded a cash prize of 3.5 thousand US dollars, diplomas and gifts.
The duo Komuzchilar from Kyrgyzstan and Parviz Gasimov from Azerbaijan won the first place and received a cash prize of 5 thousand US dollars, diplomas and souvenirs.
By decision of the jury, Uzbekistan’s Mekhrinigor Abdurashidova was awarded the Grand Prix of the XII Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival.

 

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Mali – Encore

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Guess the title is apt for a country that’s known more for its music than any other. Though music was indeed the reason that drew me to Mali some 30 years ago, the interest has since then stretched out to other entities such as its ethinic diversity, culture, the colours, markets and of course the people and their hospitality. In general, I don’t travel to a country more than once, but had to make an exception for Mali too among a very few other places. This time around, it was after a gap of 16 years and the living-colours and rhythms could be seen and heard below  –

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Mali’s ethnic diversity is among the most colourful and  facinating. Following offers a glimpse into the ethnic wear of Bamanan, Bobo, Bozo, Peul, Dogon, Khassonke, Senouto, Soninke, Songhai, Toureg, Jogorame and Maure ( not in that order)

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Rhythms galore –

 

 

 

 

Affable Massambou below has worked with some of the leading musicians of Mali including Ali Farka Toure and Oumou Sangare –

 

 

 

 

Folk arts of North Eastern India

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The horn played above in the beginning is called Penpa

The seven sister states of North-Eastern India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura) are rich in folk and tribal traditions for centuries. Though largely converted to Christianity by the missionaries during the colonial times, one could still find native traditions alive. The state of Assam alone accounts for some 90 tribes and over 220 ethnic groups in all states. Each group has their own attire, dialect and culture. Handicrafts of bamboo and cane, wood-carving, hand loom-weaving are common.

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A Karbi girl in pekok(top) and pena (bottom)

 

 

 

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An Ahom girl in chadar (top) and mekla (bottom)

 

 

 

 

Bihu being Assamese, notice all the men wear ‘gamocha’ as a head-band. It’s a cotton towel woven out of white thread with intricate embroidery in red at the ends. This piece of cloth is highly revered and serves as a cultural identity in the state of Assam.

The cymbal played above in the band is called Bhortal

 

 

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