Song Extracts - Aga Khan Music Initiative - AKDN
Aga Khan Development Network

“…via Kaboul: Music and Voices of Central Asia”

Programme notes (performed texts are presented in a condensed form)

Rubayati khalqi: Sahiba Davlatshaeva, vocal
On a stone I will sit – I wait for you, you will come from Badakhshan
With a setâr in your hands, you will come, drunk and fallen
Setâr in your hands is adorned with pearls
Why are you late when your beloved is awaiting?


1. Manas Recitation: Rysbek Jumabaev, with instrumental accompaniment arranged by Nurlanbek Nyshanov

A brief excerpt from the opening of the Manas, the great Kyrgyz epic poem that narrates the life story of its eponymous hero and, through it, the history of the Kyrgyz nation.

In this section of the poem, Manas gathers together Kyrgyz and other peoples who had been driven from their lands. Having provided them with food and shelter, he leads them back to their ancestral territory of Talas, now a city in western Kyrgyzstan.

2. “Jangylyk”: Nurlanbek Nyshanov and fellow jew’s harp players
A trio of wooden and metal jew’s harps transforms a traditional solo kuu, or instrumental melody, into a contrapuntal fantasia that plays with the instruments’ rich timbral colours.

3. “Kyzyl Gul” (Red Flower): Kenjekul Kubatova, voice and komuz
You’re a beautiful red flower, I’m a nightingale who sings for you
If you’re a light burning at night, I’m a moth circling around you

I want to alight on your petals, listen once in a while to what the nightingale is singing

Live with joy in your young years, so that you won’t have any sadness

If you were a boat on the ocean, I’d be the helmsman who steered it
But I fear that no sooner would I take the wheel then a storm would carry us away.

4. “Chaikame”: Zainidin Imanaliev, voice and komuz
Live free, don’t torment yourself with useless thoughts Night time with an old man and old woman is boring

Everyone should be with their equal Night time with the young is full of laughter

If you have a good horse but are too old to ride, what good is it?
If you have a beautiful wife but she’s like a vulture, what good is she?

Women who love their housework get drunk from it
Women who love a lover get drunk from the night in their dreams.

5. “Erke Kyz” (Spoiled Girl): arranged by Nurlanbek Nyshanov
An arrangement for ensemble of a kuu (instrumental melody) traditionally played by a single komuz
> Find out more on Tengir-Too


1. “Alimkan”: Kenjekul Kubatova, vocal and komuz
Text: Toktogul Satylgan-uulu
Melody: Bektamir

In the first years of the twentieth century, Toktogul, one of the most illustrious Kyrgyz bards (aqyn), was arrested for agitating against the czar and exiled to Siberia. He left behind his beloved, Alimkan, and by the time he escaped and returned to his native land half-a-dozen years later, Alimkan was betrothed to another man. When Toktogul asked Alimkan to come to him, she sent only a handkerchief. Toktogul composed this plaintive verse in response.

You are like a beautiful flower that’s just blossomed
You are like an unpredictable horse – one day healthy, the next, sick
I suffer because of you and you don’t even want to know about it
Just once, come to me. I’m suffering, I’m crippled.

I received your handkerchief, it alarmed me, why didn’t you come yourself?
The designs on the handkerchief tormented me – I longed for you to come
Listen to my melody and to my young dream
In this short life, let’s not make one another suffer.

2. “Mung Kalmas” (Don’t Remain Sad): Ziada Sheripova, vocal and dutar, Injegul Saburova, ghijak
Text: Ibraim Yusupov (1997)
Music: Nepaida

When the summer sun shines In good times, fruit is plentiful
Dawn doesn’t linger on the black mountain For a good-hearted youth, the world is large
When I see my beloved whom I want to kiss His soul is like a river brimming with water
No sadness is left in my eyes, nor grief in my heart If one is greedy, then in this river no water will remain.

3. “Sen Yar Gedeli” (My Beloved, You’re Leaving): Ziada Sheripova and Injegul Saburova
Text: Excerpt from the epic poem Ashiq Gharib. Music: unattributed

In this romantic epic, Ashiq Gharib, a bard from a poor family, falls in love with a princess, the daughter of the
Khorezm Shah, and joins a crowd of better-healed pretenders vying for the princess’s favour. Gharib, who can offer only his poetry, sings the following verse:
My heart is sad, my face only one among a hundred thousand You left and I’m bereft
There hasn’t been a second when I’ve been happy You left and the whole world fell apart
I am surrounded by sadness, my soul leaves me I’m mourning for the hope of your love
I don’t have any peace, my beloved, you’re leaving There’s no peace, my beloved, you’re leaving.
> Find out more on Bardic Divas


1. “Sakhar Paizi” (Morning Pleasure): Nazugum Ayupova, dance

2. “Ushaq Mughami”: Tughluk Rozi, vocal and tanbur solo, followed by full ensemble
Text: Abdurahim Nizari (Kashgar, 15th century)
Music: unattributed

How long will my soul, sensitive to flame, yet burn? Your eyes killed me, poor and helpless one
I have no more possibility for patience Who will become my revered sultan?

Cut off my head, like a ball, and put it in your thoughts Eh, my flame is like the sun of the world in the
Eh, my long-haired one, don’t leave me lost corner of my soul
Her face and eyes are not far from my meagre joy.

Music from Afghanistan MUSIC FROM AFGHANISTAN

1. Naghme
Ghulam Hosseyn, rubab, Muhammad Wali, tabla

2. Mukhammas
Rahim Takhari, vocal and dutar
Text: Said Qasinkhan, based on a ghazal of Saadi Shirazi
Music: Unattributed

In the garden, a girl walked like an elegant young cypress tree
Picking flowers and dropping them in the fold of her upheld hem
With elegant grace, she looked back,
Like a deer preparing to leap away, her glance fell on me
She turned her head around as if she hadn’t noticed me

I approached her from behind with a hundred worries
And with care, quietly called her
Then she looked at me, and I saw her eyes
With a henna-painted hand, she raised her veil
And taking offense and drawing back, said, “Have you no shame?”

3. Ghazal
Rahim Takhari, vocal and dutar
Text: Vasil
Music: Unattributed

I returned, eh dark-eyed one, in my eyes there’s no sleep
Sleep leaves my eyes, warmth leaves my heart, moisture leaves my face

With a caress she places me on the chessboard and played a checkmate
I tied my heart to her spirit, but she left me without hope.

Songs, Music, and Dance of Badakhshan SONGS, MUSIC AND DANCE OF BADAKHSHAN

1. Falak-e Badakhshani
Sahiba Davlatshaeva, vocal and Pamiri rubab
Text: Loiq Sherali

They say that for man the world is small Eh, friend, come to the border of my land
It links together uncultured heads My door is always open to you
For friendship, the world opens a big place If you want to leave, take me with you
But for hate, the world is small If you want to stay, I’ll always be with you

I sit in a high place and remember you Eh, my little heart, Lailo
I come to your hall and call you My pretty heart, Lailo
I call you, and if you don’t answer You don’t know anything, my sweet one
I’ll lead my life looking at you. About my little heart.

2. Maddoh
Aqnazar Alovatov, vocal and Pamiri tanbur
Text: Jalalladin Rumi (compiled from various poems)

The world is like a door that opens in two directions
Every day there are different people in that place
I said, “I’m going to see the world”
I saw that the theatre of the world was playing

Eh, the one who drowns in the world, don’t be far away
Beloved ones around you, don’t be far away
I am the people, I am a house, I am a hunting blind, I am a lure
I’m smart and I’m foolish, don’t be far away

I’m a treasure, I’m a horror, I’m four, I’m five
Day and night I’m a melody, don’t be far away, don’t be far away
I’m the sun that pours sugar, I’m the pride of Tabriz,
I’m a bloody sabre, don’t be far away, don’t be far away.
> Find out more on Badakhshan Ensemble

Academy of ShashmaqamACADEMY OF SHASHMAQAM

1. “Nasr-e Ushaq”
Text: Hafez
Music: unattributed
Abduvali Abdurashidov, opening sato solo

If a Turkish girl from Shiraz conquered my heart
For her single bindhi I’d give her Samarkand and Bukhara

Winebearer, give me the dregs of the wine that you can’t find in heaven,
Where Ruknabad’s waters flow not, and the garden pathways of Musalla are empty

In our limitless love, the face of God is infinitely beautiful
A beautiful face needs neither paint nor lotion, birthmarks nor streaks

From the radiant face of Yusuf, I understood
That even Zulaikha was lured from behind the curtain of chastity

Listen to the advice, dear one, that your soul loves the most
Fortunate youth loves most of all the teaching of a knowing elder

Better that you tell stories of musicians and wine than search for the secrets of the world
Because no one has solved or will solve the essence of this enigma

You wrote a ghazal that’s like a jewelled necklace, Hafez,
So that from your poetry the sky will shake the firmament.

2. Char-Zarb
Dance: Mohiniso Majitova

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