Pavlos Sidiropoulos (Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος) & Σπυριδούλα (Spyridoula) – Φλου (Flou) [1979]

capa cópiaComposer, lyricist/singer Pavlos Sidiropoulos (July 27, 1948 – December 6, 1990), only lived until the age of 42, though he left behind a remarkable musical legacy and influence amongst young artists. He was the great-grandson of Zorba, nephew of the poet Elli Alexiou and since his early age showed a musical aptitude. A true legend, despite the few musical releases in life, today’s entry is simply considered as the most important rock album of all time in Greece! Fortunately, there’s plenty of information (in greek) available about Pavlos, your site/tribute, deserves a lookout!

Over time other albums will come and we’ll try to bring more details about the life of this fabulous artist, we count on to help from our Greek friends, rest in peace Pavlos.

Let’s go to our artist:

Mural
Mural

Sidiropoulos began his career in 1970 in Thessaloniki, where he was studying maths at Aristotle University. Together with Pantelis Delleyannidis they set up the folk-duo Damon and Phintias; though he does not graduate he returns to Athens, disappointed with the revolutionary youth, where he worked to his father’s factory. He soon met, at Kittaro’sDionysis Savvopoulos and his group Bourboulia, he joined the band and released the 45 release Damis The Tough (Ντάμης ο σκληρός) in 1972. There, he stayed until 1974, and therefore first experimented with combining folklore and rock.

Afterward, Sidiropoulos collaborated with the Greek composer Yannis Markopoulos, singing his compositions with lyrics by the poet Dimitris Varos. In 1976, together with Spiropoulos brothers, he founded the music group Spiridoula. It took three years for their first release, the cornerstone album Flou, with the homonymous theme song that inspired many musicians, opening a completely different path to Greek audience!

Pavlos Sidiropoulos & Spyridoula
Pavlos Sidiropoulos & Spyridoula

In 1975, he made its two film appearances. He had the leading role in the film (and OST) O Asymvivastos, directed by Andreas Thomopoulos, at the same time, he starred with Dimitris Poulikakos another movie by ThomopoulosAldevaran.

Sidiropoulos joined the band Οι Απροσάρμοστοι (The Misfits), in 1980 where he remained until his death. They released 3 studio albums and numerous live performances. En Lef̱kó̱ was published in 82′, and many of the songs were censored!

Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος
Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος

In 1985, Zorba the Freak came out and in 1989 they released (its lastly) Without Make-up, which was recorded live at Metro club in Athens. In the summer of 1990 and after his mother’s death, his left hand started getting paralyzed, as a result of his long term drug use that he was trying to overcome for many years. He continued his live performances but the deterioration of his health had serious implications. On December 6, 1990, he died from a heart attack, caused by heroin overdose. (RIP)

Let’s go to our album:

Considered by many the most important album in Greek rock music, I was completely surprised the first time I heard him a and it touched me really deep!

Live
Live

Pavlos is simply the best, always with a tight band, he delivers nice guitars, horns, elements from progpsychedelic and jazz, folk and (beautiful) classic rock, wow!

The ‘IM’ Highlights are Oi Sovaroi Klooun (Serious Clown) and I Ora Tou Stuff (The Time of Stuff)Safar Wanaagsan!

Tracks Include (polytonic, romanized and translated):

A1 Ο Μπάμπης Ο “Φλου” – O Babis O Flou (The Father Flou)

A2 Μου ‘πες Θα Φύγω – Mou Pes Tha Fygo (You Told Me I Will Go)

A3 Που Να Γυρίζεις – Pou Na Gyrizeis (Where To Turn?)

A4 Ξέσπασμα – Xespasma (Outbreak)

A5 Οι Σοβαροί Κλόουν – Oi Sovaroi Klooun (Serious Clown)

B1 Το ’69 Με Κάποιο Φίλο – To ’69 Me Kapoio Filo (The ’69 With a Friend)

B2 Στην Κ. – Stin K. (In K.)

B3 Η Ώρα Του Stuff – I Ora Tou Stuff (The Time of Stuff)

B4 Τω Αγνώστω Θεώ – To Agnosto Theo (Tm Unknown God)

B5 Εν Κατακλείδι – En Katakleidi (In Conclusion)

Credits

  • Alto Saxophone, Clarinet: Γιάννης Φαναριώτης (John Fanariotis)
  • Bass: Τόλης Μαστρόκαλος (Tolis Mastrokalos)
  • Bass, Guitar (Slide): Νίκος Πολίτης (Nikos Politis)
  • Drums: Ανδρέας Μουζακίτης (Andreas Mouzakitis), Τάσος Φωτοδήμος (Tassos Fotodimos)
  • Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar: Βασίλης Σπυρόπουλος (Vassilis Spyropoulos)
  • Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer, Flute: Νίκος Σπυρόπουλος (Nikos Spyropoulos)
  • Music, Lyrics: Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος (Pavlos Sidiropoulos)
  • Piano: Δημήτρης Πολύτιμος (Dimitris Valuable)
  • Tenor Saxophone: Μάκης Παπαθεοδώρου (Makis Papatheodorou)
  • Trombone: Ανδρέας Γκαβογιάννης (Andreas Gkavogiannis)
  • Trumpet: Δημήτρης Λεονταρίδης (Dimitris Leontaridis)
  • Violin: Γιώργος Μαγκλάρας (Yorgos Maglaras)
  • Vocals, Percussion: Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος (Pavlos Sidiropoulos)
  • Female Vocals: Dimitra Galani 

Recorded: Γιώργος Κωνσταντόπουλος (George Konstantopoulos)

Engineer (Assistant): Γιώργος Τζάννες (George Tzanes), Εμμανουήλ Ψαρράς (Manolis Psaras)

Cover, Design, Photography: Γιώργος Μανιάτης (George Maniatis), Δημήτρης Αρβανίτης (Dimitris Arvanitis)

Producer: Θόδωρος Σαραντής (Theo Sarantis)

Coordinator: Μάνος Ξυδούς (Manos Xydous)

  • Made, Printed: EMI Greece S.A.
  • Pressed: Columbia, Athens – 7608

Harvest ‎– 14C 062-70913

1984 (Rock On!)
1984 (Rock On!)

Osamu Kitajima (喜多嶋修) – Benzaiten (1974)

capa cópiaThe music of Japan includes a wide array of performers in distinct styles both traditional and modern. The word for music in Japanese is 音楽 (ongaku), combining the kanji  ‘on’ (sound) with the kanji  ‘gaku’ (enjoy). Many instruments, as the koto, were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries, the accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the 14th century and the popular folk music, with the guitar-like shamisen, from the 16th century. Western classical music, introduced in the late 19th century, now forms an integral part of Japanese culture. The imperial court ensemble Gagaku has influenced the work of many modern Western composers.

Notable classical composers from Japan include Toru Takemitsu and Rentarō Taki.

Biwa & Koto by Utagawa Kunisada, 1848
Biwa & Koto by Utagawa Kunisada, 1848

Popular music in post-war Japan has been heavily influenced by American and European trends, which has led to the evolution of J-pop (popular music). Japan is the second-largest music market in the world, with a total retail value of over 3 billion dollars in 2013, dominated by Japanese artists. Karaoke is also the most widely practiced cultural activity, ahead of flower arranging (ikebana) or tea ceremonies. Traditional Japanese music is quite different from Western music as it’s based on the intervals of human breathing rather than mathematical timing. (!)

Toru Takemitsu
Toru Takemitsu

Let’s go to our artist:

Osamu Kitajima (February 3, 1949) was born and raised in the beach town of Chigasaki (Kanagawa Prefecture), as a young man he studied classical guitar and piano; his first band the Launchers, was led by pop idol and actor Yuzo Kayama, the group disbanded in the late ’60s, after Kitajima began to work on his own.

After graduating from Keio University, and already a successful composer of TV and advertising jingles, he moved for one year to the UK in 1971, which brought him in to contact with British folk and psychedelia. Inspired by The Beatles, T. Rex, and Syd Barrett, he dubbed himself Justin Heathcliff and issued a lone eponymous album.

Dr. Osamu Kitajima, 1972
Dr. Osamu Kitajima, 1972

His first solo album in 1974, Benzaiten, was a mix of modern pop and traditional Japanese music, and was well received in Japan and later released abroad (Antilles label in U.S.) where it received some underground radio airplay and sold moderately. Also in 1974 Kitajima relocated to the Los Angeles area and later opened East Quest Studios; the late ’70s and ’80s saw the establishment of its career, with more than a dozen Lp’s, he has become one of Japan’s biggest selling artist internationally!

During the decades, Osamu Kitajima expanded his work to include commercial and soundtrack work, he provided part of the music to the blockbuster mini-series Shogun and contributed to the soundtrack of Sharkey’s Machine. He also arranged the scores for PBS documentaries on Japan, Chinese/Japanese film Mandala and produced a number of artists. Nowadays, inside East Quest Records, he continues to release his own albums (new and re-issues), as well as works by countless artists.

Osamu's Portrait
Osamu’s Portrait

Let’s go to our album:

This is truly a melting pot of Western rock and Japanese traditional music, very few have pulled it off so well as Kitajima does here. Either they usually fall prey to new age sappiness or move towards amateurish exploitation, fortunately, it does not happen here, a real serious work, the type of rock-influenced world music that still hasn’t been much explored at all. The album also featured Haruomi Hosono and it utilized various electronics: synthesizerrhythm machine, and electronic drums.

A bit different from our previous entry Buddha Meet Rock, this is a more elaborate record, with brilliant musicians and cinematic feelings, being a cornerstone of Japanese folklore, be enlightened by Kitajima’s masterful work and Bono Trinus!

Benzaiten Goddess
Benzaiten Goddess

The ‘IM’ highlights are Taiyo (The Sun) and Benzaiten (Reprise).

Tracks Include:

A1 Benzaiten (The God of Music and Water)

A2 Taiyo (The Sun)

A3 Tengu (A Long-Nosed Goblin)

B1 Benzaiten (Reprise)

B2 Whoma (Immortality)

Credits

  • Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizer, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Koto, Biwa, Drums (African, Mexican), Electronic Drums (Rhythm Machine): Osamu Kitajima
  • Bass: Dennis Belfield, John Harris
  • Biwa: Masako Hirayama
  • Drums (African): Kinji Yoshino
  • Drums (Tsuzumi), Percussion (Narimono): Kisaku Katada
  • Electric Bass: Haruomi Hosono
  • Electric Guitar: George Marinelli
  • Flute (Hayashi-bue): Haruyoshi Hosei
  • Keyboards: Brian Whitcomb
  • Shakuhachi: Tatsuya Sano
  • Sho: Yosei Sato
  • Engineer: Kinji Yoshino
  • Engineer (Assistant): Yutaka Matsumoto
  • Producer: Kinji Yoshino, Osamu Kitajima
  • Distributed and Manufactured: Island Records Inc.
  • Antilles U.S. release of the album first released by Island Records (Japan) in 1974.

Recorded through Jan/Aug 1974 at Hit Studio of Jean Jean Theater, Tokyo

Whoma recorded live at Nikkei Hall.

Antilles ‎– AN 7016

Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry Blossom Festival

Alla Pugacheva (Алла Пугачева) – Mirror of the Soul (Зеркало Души) [1978]

capaThe ’60s and ’70s saw the beginning of modern Russian pop and rock music, it all started with the wave of VIA’s (vocal-instrumental ensemble), a specific sort of music bands performing radio-friendly pop, rock, and folk, composed by members of the Union of Composers, approved by censorship. This wave began with Pojuschie Gitary and Pesnyary, popular VIA bands also included Tcvety and Zemlyane.

That period also saw individual pop stars such as Iosif Kobzon, Sofia Rotaru, Alla Pugacheva, Valery Leontiev, Yuri Antonov, many of them remain popular and active to this day. They were the mainstream of Soviet music media, headliners of festivals such as Song of the Year, Sopot, and Golden Orpheus. The year 1977 saw the establishment of Moskovsky Komsomolets hit parade, Russia’s first music chart.

VIA Singing Guitar
VIA Singing Guitar

The term VIA represented a model under which the Soviet government was willing to permit domestic rock and pop music acts to develop. To be able to break through the state-owned Soviet media, a band needed to become an officially-recognized VIA. Each VIA had an artistic director who served as manager, producer, and also state-appointed censor. In some bands the artistic director was the band’s leading member and songwriter, while in others he played the role of an impresario.

Songs varied from pop ballads, dance disco and new wave to mainstream rock (although bands avoided the rock music label until the late ’70s, because rock was considered a bourgeois art and formally banned) (!). The typical VIA consisted of 6 to 10 band members, lead vocalists usually did not play an instrument, virtually every member of a VIA was a professional musician, with formal musical education.

VIA Charivni Guitar
VIA Charivni Guitar

The Soviet government had strict rules governing how members of a VIA were to behave on stage and conduct themselves in public. Performers were only allowed to wear suits, folks costumes, or military uniforms. Movements around the stage were discouraged and anything outside of the conservative norm, such as long hair, tattoos, leather jackets, or metallic accessories were strictly forbidden. Due to state censorship, the lyrics of VIAs were family-friendly, typical topics were universal emotions like love, joy, and nostalgia, or idealized vignettes from usual daily life.

VIA song recordings were done by Melodiya, the State-owned record company, and the concerts/performances were organized by professional associations such as Soyuzkontsert (Union Concerts), Moskontsert (Moscow Concerts), Lenkonsert (Leningrad Concerts), Roskontsert (Russian Concerts), along with regional groups.

Let’s go to our artist:

Alla Pugacheva & Kristina Orbakaitе
Alla Pugacheva & Kristina Orbakaitе

Alla Borisovna Pugacheva (April 15, 1949) started performing when she still was at junior school. In 1965, she composed and recorded The Robot, her first song for the national radio. After high school, Pugacheva continued education in Moscow State Music College, at the department of conducting and choir singing. Later, in 1981 she also got a degree in theatre directing at the (arrant) State Theatre Art College.

Alla Pugacheva started a professional singing career in the early ’70s, as a leading singer of VIA’s Funny Guys, but real recognition only came when she won the Grand Prix of the Golden Orpheus song contest with the song Harlequin in 1975.

Afterward, she went to work in what would be the turning point of its career: the musical film The Woman Who Sings, in 1977. In co-op with the band Rhythm, she played the leading lady, a pop singer who sacrifices her personal life for her career.

60's Alla Pugacheva
60’s Pugacheva

The soundtrack, which was co-written by her, included a myriad of pop songs, the Soviet audience, regarding the film as autobiographical, brought the OST to reach record audience of the year in 1979, as it was bought by 55 million people! (phew)

Though for many she grew to represent the government-pop culture that was forced upon the people, her popularity skyrocketed, and she released many albums throughout the decades. Her contributions to Russian music were recognized when she has bestowed the title of People’s Artist of the U.S.S.R. in 1991. She enjoys an iconic status across the former Soviet Union and has overshadowed a long time rival Sofia Rotaru as the most successful Soviet performer in terms of record sales and popularity. Her last album was released in 2008 and lately, Pugacheva is the main judge on Factor A, Russia’s version of the British X-Factor television series.

Let’s go to our album:

Primadonna
Primadonna

Mirror of the Soul was Alla Pugacheva’s first studio album, published in the Soviet Union in May 1978, as a double album, and later re-released in two parts. The Lp includes songs performed by her, recorded in 1975/1977 primarily composed by (master) Alexander Zatsepin. It became one of the most sold in the USSR in late 70’s early 80’s. By 1983, it had sold 7,753,500 copies, and with a general circulation exceeding 60 reissues, the album approached the terrific mark of 10 million copies!

A collection of singles, which had previously appeared in the film or in separate publications, it firmly stands as a kaleidoscope of genres, ranging from kitschy hits, funk-rock, orchestral ballads, prog synths, art pop, funny marches and much more from a devilishly talented singer and composer, prepare yourself for Alla’s realms.

The ‘IM’ highlights are Приезжай (Come) and Мы Не Любим Друг Друга (We Do Not Like Each Other)хорошая поездка!

Tracks Include:

A1 Бубен Шамана (Tambourine Shaman) / Centerline of The Skies OST

A2 Верю В Тебя (I Believe in You) / Basketball OST

A3 Сонет Шекспира (Shakespeare’s Sonnet)

B1 Приезжай (Come)

B2 Не Отрекаются Любя (Do Not Deny Loving)

B3 Песенка Про Меня (Song About Me)

B4 Женщина, Которая Поет (The Woman Who Sings)

C1 Все Могут Короли (Kings Can Do Everything)

C2 Куда Уходит Детство (Where Does Childhood?) / Fantasy Vesnuhina OST

C3 Волшебник-Недоучка (Wizard-Dropout) / Brave Chirac OST

C4 Полно Вокруг Мудрецов (Fully Sages Around) / Brave Chirac OST

D1 Мы Не Любим Друг Друга (We Do Not Like Each Other) / Cook & Singer OST

D2 Если И Долго Мучиться (If You Long To Suffer) / Cook & Singer OST

D3 До Свиданья, Лето (Goodbye, Summer) / Centerline of The Skies OST

D4 Любовь Одна Виновата (Love One to Blame) / Centerline of The Skies OST

D5 Найди Себе Друга (Find a Friend) / Fantasy Vesnuhina OST

Credits

Conductor: V. Terletsky (B2), A. Avilov (A2, A3, B1, B3, B4), V. Kleynot (A1, C1 to D5)

Ensemble: VIA B. Kleynota (A1, C1 to D5), Rhythm (A2, A3, B1, B3, B4)

Music: Alexander Zatsepin (A1, A2, B3, C2 to D5), Boris Gorbonos (A3, B1, B4), Boris Richkov (C1), Leonid Garin (B4), Mark Minkov (B2)

Lyrics: William Shakespeare (A3), Boris Gorbonos (B1), V. Tushnova (B2), Kaisyn Guliyev (B4), Leonid Derbenyov (A1, B3, C1 to D5), Onegin Gadzhikasimov (A2)

  • Arrangements: Alexander Zatsepin (except B2 and C1)
  • Photographer: Vyacheslav Maneshina
  • Supervised: A. Kachalina

Мелодия ‎– 33 С 60-09799-802

Vasilissa the Beautiful by Ivan Bilibin
Vasilissa the Beautiful by Ivan Bilibin

Chrisye – Sabda Alam (1978)

prambanan cópiaGamelan is traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali in Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. The most common instruments are metallophones played by mallets as well as a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which registers the beat. It also includes xylophones, bamboo flutes, bowed instrument called rebab, and even female vocalists called sindhen.

The popularity of gamelan has declined since modern pop music, though gamelan is still commonly played at formal occasions and in many traditional ceremonies. For most Indonesians, gamelan is an integral part and a symbol of Indonesian culture.

Gamelan Ensemble
Gamelan Ensemble

They are distinguished by their collection of instruments and use of voice, tunings, repertoire, style, and cultural context. In general, no two gamelan ensembles are the same, and those that arose in prestigious courts are often considered to have their own style. Certain styles may also be shared by nearby ensembles, leading to a regional style. The varieties are grouped geographically, with the principal division between the styles favoured by the Balinese, Javanese, and Sundanese peoples.

Typically, players in the gamelan will be familiar with dance movespoetry, while dancers are able to play (along) in the ensemble. In wayang, the dalang (puppeteer) must have a thorough knowledge of gamelan, as he gives the cues for the music.

Certain gamelans are associated with specific rituals, such as the Gamelan Sekaten, which is used in the celebration of Mawlid an-Nabi (Muhammad‘s birthday), other pieces are also believed to possess magic powers, and can be used to ward off evil spirits!

Children's Gamelan Orchestra at Peliatan, Bali
Children’s Gamelan Orchestra at Peliatan, Bali

The gamelan has been appreciated by several western composers (Colin McPhee, Béla Bartók, Francis Poulenc, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Benjamin Britten, Steve Reich, Phillip Glass, György Ligeti and John Cage), most famously Claude Debussy who heard a Javanese gamelan in the premiere of Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray‘s Rapsodie Cambodgienne at the Paris Exposition World’s Fair of 1889.

The gamelan that Debussy heard in it was in the slendro scale and its equal-tempered whole tone scale appears in his music. A Javanese gamelan-like heterophonic texture is emulated on occasion, particularly in Pagodes, from Estampes (solo piano, 1903), in which the great gong‘s cyclic punctuation is symbolized by a prominent perfect fifth.

XIX Century Gamelan
XIX Century Gamelan

There is a famous Javanese saying that sums up Gamelan’s role importance in Indonesian habitual daily life: It is not official until the gong is hung’. (!)

Let’s go to our artist:

Chrismansyah Rahadi (16 September 1949 – 30 March 2007) was born in Jakarta, as the second of three brothers from Laurens Rahadi and Hana. He graduated from high school in 1967 and had the opportunity of studying Architectural Engineering in APP Trisakti, but he dropped out on its third year. Chrisye initiated his career in music by joining the Sabda Nada Band in 1968, the short-lived group morphed into Gipsy (later famous Guruh Gipsy) in 1969 along with some change of personnel.

70's
70’s

Gipsy became a well-respected band from Jakarta and had the most luxurious equipment of the day. In 1971/1972 they flew to New York and played in the Ramayana Restaurant for about a year. Back to Indonesia, Chrisye managed to popularize the song Lilin-Lilin Kecil (Small Candles) winning the Youth Contest Prambors Songwriting Contest in 1977. His first albums Badai Pasti Berlalu and Sabda Alam managed to be very popular and successful in the domestic market.

This would only be the beginning of a highly consolidated career through the ’80s and ’90s, he’s merely one of the biggest record sellers from all-time in Indonesia!

Let’s go to our album:

In May 1978 Chrisye began work on his first (solo) album Sabda Alam (Nature’s Order), incorporating several songs by other artists and some written by himself, including the title song, which he recorded it after locking himself in the studio. The album, greatly influenced by Badai Pasti Berlalu (OST Lp) and drawing on the double-tracking technique (the vocals are recorded twice to achieve fuller sound), was released in August that year. Heavily promoted in a campaign during which Chrisye was interviewed on the national television station TVRI and on the radio.

Chrisye
Chrisye (RIP)

The album eventually sold more than 400,000 copies! (phew)

This renowned artist (still) remains unknown to most of the Western public, today we exclusively present one of his greatest releases, full of melodic and harmonic beauty, Chrisye’s soulful interpretation is quite something. Supported by a sharp band with the always welcome participation of Yockie on keyboards, once more splitting the arrangements with Chrisye, the Lp got prog ballads, folk, disco, a fantastic version of Smaradhana (Guruh Gipsy’s song), female chorus, and one of the greatest Indonesian songs in my opinion, Anak Jalanan, this album is no joke!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Cita Secinta and Anak Jalanan.

Vjaġġ Tajba!

Tracks Include:

A1 Juwita

A2 Sabda Alam

A3 Smaradhana

A4 Duka Sang Bahaduri

A5 Cita Secinta

B1 Kala Sang Surya Tenggelam

B2 Nada Asmara

B3 Citra Hitam

B4 Adakah

B5 Anak Jalanan

Credits

Yockie: Acoustic Piano, Keyboards

Chrisye: Bass, Guitar

Keenan: Drums, Percussion

Ronnie: Piano, String Melody, Synths

Nina, Ana, Ani: Backing Vocals

Arranged: Yockie and Chrisye

Musica / msc7060 (cassette)

Balinese Cuisine
Balinese Cuisine

ВИА Севиль (VIA Sevil) – Севиль (Sevil) [1978]

vagif, azizaIn terms of ethnicity, culture, music, and religionAzerbaijan is much closer to Iran than Turkey, the country has the distinction of being the first Muslim-majority democratic and secular republic of the modern eraTheir music is based on folk traditions that reach back nearly a thousand years! We can list here e.g. the Mugham, Meykhana and Ashiq Art being one of the many musical traditions of Azerbaijan.

Mugham is usually a suite with poetry and instrumental interludes, it belongs to the modal system and may have derived from Persian tradition (Arabic Maqam). In contrast to the mugham traditions of Central Asian countries, Azeri mugham is more free-form and it is often compared to the improvised field of jazz. Its modes are associated not only with scales but with an orally transmitted collection of melodies and melodic fragments that performers use in the course of improvisation.

Nizami Ganjavi, 16th Century
Nizami Ganjavi, 16th Century

The dramatic unfolding in performance is associated with increasing intensity, rising pitches, in a form of poetic-musical communication amid performers/listeners.

In 2003, UNESCO recognized Mugham as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Another curiosity is the presence of the Balaban (national wind instrument) included on the Voyager Golden Record, attached to the Voyager spacecraft as representing (assorted) world music.

Meykhana is a kind of traditional Azeri distinctive folk unaccompanied song, usually performed by several people improvising on a particular subject. Ashiq combines poetry, storytelling, dance, and vocal and instrumental music into a traditional performance art that stands as a symbol of Azerbaijani culture. Based on a mystic troubadour or traveling bard who sings and plays the Saz, this tradition has its origins in the ancient Turkic peoples, surviving to the present day as an emblem of national identity and the guardian of Azerbaijani language, literature, and music. (!)

Azeri Dance
Azeri Dance

Let’s go to our music:

Jazz is extremely popular in Azerbaijan. National Jazz School of Azerbaijan was established with the birth of State Jazz Orchestra in 1938 performing both classic jazz and improvisations on traditional Mugham music. The life of Jazz did not last long as in the ’50s Soviet authorities banned its performance in the country as seditious western music, even music played on the saxophone was outlawed!

Therefore, a blend which came to be known as mugam jazz had originated in Baku.

In the late ’60s, the Azeri jazz music was boosted by such composers as Qara Qarayev and Rauf Hajiyev. It was the era of Rafiq Babayev’s jazz quartet, and later, that of Vagif Mustafazadeh, who pioneered the jazz-mugham variation.

Qara Qarayev
Qara Qarayev

Let’s go to our artist:

Vagif Mustafa-Zadeh (March 16, 1940 – December 17, 1979) is the founder of Azerbaijani jazz mugham movement that emerged in the late ’60s and ’70s in Baku.

Mustafazadeh was born in Old City, the historic core of the Baku, his name was chosen by the renowned poet Samed Vurgun, on the request of his mother, a piano teacher in local music school. The musical prohibitions during the ’40s and ’50s meant that the playing of jazz was banned in USSR countries, including Azerbaijan since there was no opportunity to get jazz records from anywhere, he listened to jazz pieces, learning from movies, the BBC radio and sang the also banned Meykhana.

In 1963, he graduated from Baku State Musical School named after Asaf Zeynally and a year later accepted to Azerbaijan State Conservatoire. He first achieved fame at the music school, giving concerts there, later on performing at the parties and evenings held at the universities and clubs, while performing at the clubs, he mainly played classical jazz, as well as some blues and (even) pop-dance music!

A Young Maestro
A Young Maestro

From the ’60s, prohibitions put on jazz music were gradually lifted and thus the late 1960s and ’70s became a time when Baku was a real center of inspired jazz.

In 1965, he quit the conservatoire and went to Tbilisi to lead the Orero musical ensemble, later he created the Qafqaz jazz trio at Georgian State Philharmonic.

In 1970 he formed the Leyli women’s quartet and followed the formula in 1971 with the (famous) Sevil vocal-instrumental ensemble. The group was founded on the basis of the State TV & Radio of Azerbaijan SSR, with soloists U. Hajibeyov, Dilara Dzhangirova, and Rena TalybovaUntil 1977 he guided tirelessly all of ’em!

Sevil, 70's
Sevil, 70’s

For its composition Waiting for Aziza, Mustafazadeh won first prize at the 8th International Competition of Jazz Composers in Monaco, 1978. He was also elected as laureate at Donetsk All-Soviet Union Jazz Festival in 1977 and elected as the best pianist in Tbilisi-78. Vagif Mustafazadeh is assigned Honored Artist of Azerbaijan SSR and after his death Azerbaijani State Prize. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack shortly after a concert in Tashkent, and before the birthdays of his wife and daughter. Mustafazadeh was married twice, from the first marriage he had Lala, a classical pianist. His second marriage gave him (famous) Aziza Mustafa Zadeh.

More than three decades since Mustafazade’s passing, a larger number of his recordings are more widely available than at any time during his lifetime. (RIP)

Vagif Mustafa Zadeh
Vagif Mustafa Zadeh (Art)

Let’s go to our album:

This is one of those rare moments when everything goes right! I’m totally rapt about the music of this incredible artist, composer, arranger, and icon. Be blessed by the wonderful vocal harmonies, deep instrumental tracks, folk and even a bit of funk-rock. Today we won’t talk much, the music speaks for itself, despite the quality of the rip, the overall is fantastic, a long-lasting jazz album, appraise it and yaxşı səfər!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Beauty Black Eyebrows and Mugam.

Tracks Include:

A1 Дороги (Roads) / (V. Mustafazade – F. Qoca)

A2 Золотое колечко (Golden Ring) / (T. Quliyev – R. Rza)

A3 Сурьма для черных бровей (Beauty Black Eyebrows) / (V. Mustafazade – Xalq)

A4 От судьбы не уйдешь (No Escaping Fate) / (V. Mustafazade)

B1 Во дворце ширваншахов (In the Palace of the Shirvan Shahs) / (V. Mustafazade)

B2 Любимая (Favorite) / (R. Haciyev – O. Olibeyli)

B3 Мугам (Mugam) / (R. Mirisli)

B4 Сегодняшний день (This Day) / (V. Mustafazade)

Мелодия ‎– С60 10157

Baku by Night
Baku by Night