Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

The Azeris: Alim Qasimov


“Björk
“adores” a whole range of singers: “Chaka Khan, Beyoncé, Antony” – the latter being Antony Hegarty, a former collaborator who is here in the audience – though her “favourite singer alive today” is Azerbaijani devotional singer Alim Qasimov.”

Björk’s  yesterday’s interview to Guardian

I read this today and couldn’t be more proud.

I’ve heard him sing live only once but it was enough. It was my friend’s wedding, where Alim Qasimov was invited as a guest. During the wedding, people would surround him trying to chat or take pictures. He would response affably to each and one of them and never refused any of the requests. By the end of the wedding he was invited to the stage and asked to sing.

He did.

It wasn’t just singing, it was him making music and us feeling it. His performance took me to the deepest corners of my soul and I felt goose bumps all over my body. Most of the people stood up enchanted and listened in silence. When he finished, I felt tears in my eyes, while people burst into applause.

I’ve heard him sing only once, but it was enough to realize his value.

Info:

Alim Qasimov (1957) is a prominent mugham singer named a “Living National Treasure” of Azerbaijan. He has been passionate about mugham since his early childhood, but initially Qasimov sang mugham solely for his own enjoyment. Only at the age of nineteen, after having held various jobs as an agricultural worker and driver, did he decide to pursue a career in music. Qasimov studied at the Asaf Zeynalli Music College (1978-1982) and the Azerbaijan University of Arts (1982-1989). His teacher was well-known mugham singer Aghakhan Abdullayev.

Qasimov’s first remarkable international success occurred in 1988 when he won first prize at the International Festival and Symposium on Traditional Music in Samargand, Uzbekistan. Since then, he has been traveling worldwide to spread the art of Azerbaijani mugham.

Alim appears on 12 CDs released in Europe and the United States, on one of them, Love’s Deep Ocean (1999, Network Medien, Frankfurt, Germany) together with his daughter and student Fargana Qasimova. In addition to performing with the Silk Road Ensemble, Qasimov performs with the Kronos Quartet as part of his collaboration with the Aga Khan Initiative in Central Asia.

http://www.worldmusic.co.uk/alim_qasimov_ensemble

“Alim Qasimov is simply one of the greatest singers alive, with a searing spontaneity that conjures passion and devotion, contemplation and incantation.”

The New York Times

Here he is – one of the greatest Azerbaijanis, legendary mugam singer Alim Qasimov.

Alim Qasimov performing “What will you say” with Jeff Buckley in 1995 on Festival of Sacred Music in France.

 

Alim Qasimov with daughter Fargana

Alim Qasimov on Facebook

Alim Qasimov on Wikipedia

10 Opening Credits You Have To Recognize…

…if you were growing up in 80-90s in a post-Soviet country.

Special thanks to my brother for having an awesome memory!

I’ll go chronologically backwards, from the ones you remember for sure, to the ones that’ll awaken your earliest memories.

1. Sunset Beach 1997-1999

Yes, we were young, stupid and were watching this blah

Continue reading

I Met the Walrus

In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced him to do an interview. 38 years later, Levitan, director Josh Raskin and illustrators James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina have collaborated to create an animated short film using the original interview recording as the soundtrack. A spellbinding vessel for Lennon’s boundless wit and timeless message, I Met the Walrus was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Animated Short and won the 2009 Emmy for ‘New Approaches’ (making it the first film to win an Emmy on behalf of the internet).

This is without doubt one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

Euro-with-no-Vision

I’ve started my work in PR when I was 20. Even though it was a governmental structure, we were lucky enough to have good management and actually try to do something. On the other hand – we were close enough to other governmental structures to know how much money gets spent and what outreach was being received. Budgets were enough to feed the families of the whole management, while outreach was simply not worth it. At least PR wise.

If you are thinking about starting business in Azerbaijan, probably the first word you should learn is “otkat” (ot-cut). This word we adopted from Russian language means the amount of money one has to bribe with if he receives a grant or a purchase from a certain structure.

And if you think that this is being covered and not talked about – you’re mistaken. An Azerbaijani is usually fine talking about the otkats he received or had to pay. “How else should my family survive in this economy”, he’ll say if you ask.

Otkat works in all fields: business, education, arts and of course PR. As a result – cattles of expensive 4-wheel-drives filling the streets of Baku, millions spent on projects, outreach of which are once again – not worth it. 20 million manats for Flowers Day, 10 million dollars on participation in Eurovision (while Russia only spends 30 thousand), millions of money on cultural events around the world, which are mostly attended by Azerbaijanis. And does it bring more tourists to Azerbaijan? No, it only makes people pick up the phone and check the prices and then choose Turkey or Spain for vacation. Because it’s simply much cheaper.

Safura Alizadeh, Azerbaijani participant of Eurovision 2010

 

Let me tell you another PR story, which I’ve already mentioned a few days ago will write more broadly about in my next post.

A couple of months ago German Embassy contacted me asking if I would be interested in attending an International Blogger conference to be held in Berlin in May. “Of course!”, I said. A month and an interview later – I was chosen as a representative of Azerbaijan to attend a 10-day Bloggertour organized by the Foreign Office of Germany.

What can I say? It turned out to be the best event I’ve ever participated. Not only was it well-planned and completely paid, but also so informative, I’ve already drafted two and wrote 1 post about things I’ve seen and learned there. And I’m only going to mention 30% of it – parts of the program that impressed me the most.

As a result – 16 most popular bloggers from around the world (and my blog was the weakest there) sharing their impressions and experience with their readers, who will repost those in their blogs or share on their Facebook pages. Outreach – thousands of readers and a line for the next year’s tour.

Should I tell about a number of scholarships for international students and kind of promotion it gives to a country? Or work with Social Media activists? Or hundreds of festivals and celebrations held all around the world? La Tomatina in Spain? Saint Patrick’s day in Ireland? Shopping festival in Dubai? Even the Pillow Fight in London? Or Karneval der Kulturen in Berlin I was lucky enough to see?

That’s my friends, what I call PR. And our ambitions to show ourselves in a good way by spending loads of money are nothing more than just a nice icing on a really bad cake, no one will order again. And no otkat will save it.

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