The recordings presented in the present disc are part of a project achieved by Jean During (with support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) to record the whole repertoire of Farhad Qari Halimov, a Samarqandi master of the shash-maqam. The project went much farther than the preservation of a tradition: We discover the personal style of an immense artist, both singing and playing tanbur (long-necked lute). In his comments J. During explains that Farhad Qari did not enjoy recognition from a large audience because his style, based on ancient repertoires, remained too original for the Tashkent-styled fashion of the shash-maqam world. Moreover, he used to perform in Persian, a frowned upon behaviour in independent Uzbekistan. The melodies and songs presented here, based on the couple vocal/tanbur, with accompaniment of dayra and sometimes by dutar and rubab (traditional instruments for shash-maqam), are sung in Persian (except the last one), and also permit the auditor to penetrate the personal style of the master on tanbur thanks to improvised pieces — an exceptional performance as far as this repertoire is concerned. The spare style of singing and the intimate atmosphere provided by the instruments stay away from shash-maqam performances that are usually available on the international market. The text emphasises the master’s originality, rooted in the old style; it also provides a lot of information on the repertoire, and partial translations of the sung poems. So doing this disc not only provides consecration for an original artist, but also constitutes a beautiful reference work for amateurs and connoisseurs of Central Asian classical music.

Ariane Zevaco, School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris
CER: II-6.4.E-527