The disc introduces the most important muqam (مقام, suite or mode) of the “classical” Uighur repertoire: the Onikki Muqam (Twelve Modes). The first one and the more frequently played, Rak (راک), is played by two groups of musicians, from Yarkand and from Tashkent. As the whole suite lasts more than two hours, some pieces are not introduced, but the disc respects the structure of a muqam and involves pieces of the four main sections: Bash Muqam (an unmeasured vocal introduction, with instrumental accompaniment); the Chong Näghmä (“Great Songs”) comprising instrumental and vocal pieces; the Dastan Näghmä (instrumental pieces) and the Mäshräp (short pieces). The Bash Muqam sung by Abdurusul Ablikim, with Mämät Turdi on setar (ستار, a long bowed lute), introduces to the developments of the suite, sung and played by ensembles. The text gives historical and musicological explanations on the Onikki Muqam. The present disc is the first publication of a whole muqam outside of China, with a comment substantially different from those usually edited in China. As such, it should be well received not only for the quality of the performances, but also as a well-documented introduction to the still understudied world of Uighur traditional music.

Ariane Zevaco, School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris
CER: II-6.5-555