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40 Central Asian Musicians and Dancers on Tour in Europe


Geneva, Switzerland, 24 August 2004 - Beginning 25 September, 40 musicians and dancers from Central Asia will start a five-week-long tour of Europe that will include major performances at the English National Opera in London, the WOMEX World Music Expo in Essen, Germany, the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival in Oslo, as well as venues in Brussels, Turin and Dijon. The tour programme will also feature numerous educational events such as workshops, lecture-demonstrations and master classes.

The 40 musicians and dancers selected to participate in the autumn 2004 tour by the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia (AKMICA) are the region’s leading exponents of their musical genre or style. Some, like Azerbaijani mugham singer Alim Qasimov, have already achieved renown in the West. Others, like Kyrgyz epic reciter Rysbek Jumabaev, who has performed with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, and Kazakh bard Uljan Baibussynova, a cast member of Peter Sellars’ recent theatrical production “Children of Heracles,” are only now coming to the attention of Western audiences. And still others, like Tajik classical musician Abduvali Abdurashidov, are musical icons at home, yet remain all but unknown beyond Central Asia’s borders. (Detailed information about artists, concert venues and tour dates appears in the accompanying press kit, which is available to registered journalists through the press contact below.)

Beginning 25 September, 40 musicians and dancers from Central Asia will start a five-week-long tour of Europe.Beginning 25 September, 40 musicians and dancers from Central Asia will start a five-week-long tour of Europe.The tour is curated and presented by the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia, a programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and is co-produced by Paris-based Zamzama Productions. French scenographer Michel Jaffrenou will create a virtual environment through the use of multimedia, including large-screen video projection designed to create a cultural and geographic ambience for music performed outside its traditional setting. Illuminating this environment and the remarkable musicians who both nourish and are nourished by it is a key goal of the AKMICA-sponsored tour.

In Central Asia, musicians are more than entertainers. Traditionally, music has served to reinforce social and moral values, and musicians have provided models of exemplary leadership. Whether bringing listeners closer to God, sustaining cultural memory through epic tales, or strengthening the bonds of community through festivity and celebration, musicians have played a vital role in Central Asian social life.

The 40 musicians and dancers selected to participate in the autumn 2004 tour by the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia (AKMICA) are the region’s leading exponents of their musical genre or style.The 40 musicians and dancers selected to participate in the autumn 2004 tour by the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia (AKMICA) are the region’s leading exponents of their musical genre or style.Recognition of this important role led His Highness the Aga Khan to establish the Music Initiative. The Music Initiative helps preserve Central Asia’s endangered musical heritage by ensuring its transmission to a new generation of artists and audiences. The Music Initiative supports musicians it has identified as tradition-bearers who are revitalising important musical repertories. It also supports a worldwide music touring programme and disseminates Central Asian music through a variety of media projects including an audio and video anthology co-produced with the Smithsonian Institution. The Initiative’s creative partnership with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project began in 2000 and has since resulted in festivals, concert tours, recordings and innovative collaborations. It has recently been extended to development of multimedia programmes for a new “Museum Initiative”, under which works of visual art are displayed together with traditions of oral literature and world music through performances, exhibitions and educational events in some of the world’s leading museums.

For more information, please contact:
For Press:
Sam Pickens
Information Officer
Aga Khan Development Network
P.O. Box 2049
1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland
Tel: (+41 22) 909 7277
Fax: (+41 22) 909 7292
Mobile: (+41 78) 661 8714
E-mail: info@akdn.org  

Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia (AKMICA):
Fairouz R. Nishanova
Director, AKMICA
Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Aga Khan Development Network
P.O. Box 2049
1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland
E-mail: akmica@akdn.org  

Theodore Levin
Senior Project Consultant, AKMICA
Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Aga Khan Development Network
P.O. Box 2049
1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland
E -mail: akmica@akdn.org  

Exclusive artist management and tour co-production:
Sabine Chatel
Zamzama Productions
156, bd Magenta
75010 Paris
France
Tel.: + 33 1 44 63 00 34
Fax: + 33 1 42 46 22 94
E -mail: info@zamzama.net   
Website: www.zamzama.net  

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