The great Mugham tradition
I was wounded by the arrows of his eyelashes drawn from the arch of his brows – Do not put these curls of hair on my wound whose blood carries me The heart rushes towards the soul to beautify it.
The great musician Elchan Mansourov explains better than anyone else the spirituality of this type of music: The mugham expresses all of the pain of its people in their quest for goodness over the centuries. But it is also solemn, gay and even a little warlike. It can bring joy. It is like the cosmos, like the universe, like life. It is born of peace that starts to boil, reaches the final point and returns to its source, to its beginnings, to the origin, to the earth. The mugham expresses eternity; life and death, homeland and exile. In its words, it is at the same time both joy and sadness. Above all, it sings of love, a superior love that forgets the self and deifies love itself.The origins of Azeri mugham lie at the heart of ‘erouze’-style poetry, in certain ways of reading the Qur’an, on the Silk Road that linked all of the Orient, in feelings, intelligence and ways of living in the hot climate of the mountains.Each khanandé (mugham singer) must know how to play the kaval (frame drum). The khanandé accompanies himself or herself in singing the rhythmic mugham (tesnif). The kaval is both an amplifier of the voice as well as a vibrating drumskin.As for the kamantcha, this is a sort of viol in strong harmony with the singer’s voice. It supports the principal instrument – the tar lute. It was the great musician Sadikhjan who adapted this to Azeri music and expanded its usage.