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  • Abduvali Abdurashidov, recently awarded the 2012 France Music Prize for World Music.
    Sebastian Schutyser
Aga Khan Music Initiative brings together musicians from Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa at the 2012 Spring Festival

Programme inspired by Grammy-nominated “Invisible Face of the Beloved” to be performed in Cairo, Alexandria and Beirut 

Geneva, Switzerland, 20 April 2012 - The Aga Khan Music Initiative is presenting “Invisible Face of the Beloved: Contemporary Music from Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa” at the 2012 Spring Festival in Cairo, Alexandria, and Beirut. The festival runs from 20 April to 16 May 2012.

Based on Sufi-inspired classical music and songs, this programme brings together seven adventurous musicians from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Tunisia to create contemporary expressions of their shared musical traditions and heritage. The innovative 90-minute concerts will feature combinations of vocal and instrumental music performed by duos, trios, and quartets, as well as pieces by the full ensemble. 

The programme is part of the Music Initiative’s efforts to strengthen links between artistic communities in Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa that share a common musical legacy.

Concerts will present three prominent artists from Tajikistan, namely Abduvali Abdurashidov (tanbur, sato), Ozada Ashurova (vocal), and Sirojiddin Djuraev (tanbur, dutar). All three feature on the Grammy-nominated Smithsonian Folkways/Aga Khan Music Initiative CD/DVD release “Music of Central Asia Vol. 2: Invisible Face of the Beloved: Classical Music of the Tajiks and Uzbeks”. Mr. Abdurashidov, director of the Academy of Maqom in Dushanbe, was recently awarded the 2012 France Music Prize for World Music for his mastery of the tanbur and sato, the main accompanying instruments for the performance of the Shashmaqom, the classical music of the Tajik and Uzbeks of Central Asia.

The trio will be joined in Cairo (Friday, 27 April, 8pm, Taz Palace) and Alexandria (Saturday, 28 April, 8pm, Jesuits Cultural Centre) by the young and talented Tunisian violinist and composer Jasser Haj Youssef (violin, viola d’amore) and Uzbek percussion master Abbos Kosimov (doira). Beirut performance (Monday, 30 April, Dawar Shams) will feature virtuosos Pasha Hanjani (ney) and Mohammad Motamedi (vocal) from Iran.

This is the second time the Aga Khan Music Initiative presents its artists at the Spring Festival as part of its long-term and multidimensional collaboration with Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy. AKMI artists from Afghanistan and Uzbekistan first appeared at Cairo and Beirut Spring Festival on 6th and 7th May 2010.

The Spring Festival, which takes place every second year, started eight years ago in an ambitious attempt to celebrate regional, modern creativity by presenting a wide range of the most prominent contemporary creations in music, theatre, dance, visual arts and literature. The festival is organised by Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy) which is a regional, non-profit organization that seeks to support artistic creativity in the Arab region and to encourage cultural exchanges within this region and with the developing world.

These concerts are presented as part of the Aga Khan Music Initiative’s Performance and Outreach programme. 

The Aga Khan Music Initiative is an interregional music and arts education program with worldwide performance, outreach, mentoring, and artistic production activities. The Initiative was launched by His Highness the Aga Khan to support talented musicians and music educators working to preserve, transmit, and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms. The Initiative began its work in Central Asia, subsequently expanding its cultural development activities to include artistic communities and audiences in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. The Initiative designs and implements a country-specific set of activities for each country into which it invests and works to promote revitalization of cultural heritage both as a source of livelihood for musicians and as a means to strengthen pluralism in nations where it is challenged by social, political, and economic constraints.

For more information about the Aga Khan Music Initiative, please see: AKMI page  

For more information about the CD/DVD and the series, please see:  

For press enquiries:

Sam Pickens
Aga Khan Development Network
1-3 avenue de la Paix
1202 Geneva