Ancient Traditions of Azerbaijan in Niagara International Chambe

2008-08-15 06:52:00


Another effort  to introduce Azerbaijani music to Canadians resulted with great success and  Azerbaijani music was well presented in the 10
th season of Niagara International Chamber Music Festival which features more than 40 concerts with over 90 musicians, singers, actors, and dancers in 7 venues. Azerbaijani mughams and classic music became one of the loved repertoires of the festival where performances of jazz, contemporary neo-romantic, symphonic and sacred music, choral works, pocket opera, and dance, along with the traditional Baroque, Classical and Romantic musical repertoire are a part.

 Canadians who attend the festival not only enjoy Mozart , Shaw and music, jazz after play and masterpieces performed by renowned artists, including Christopher Newton and Anton Kuerti, they also enjoy listening the masterpieces by famous Azerbaijani composers Kara Karayev, Covdet Hajiyev, Ismail Hajiyev, etc. who are renown masters of arts awarded by Heydar Aliyev for their contribution to the development of musical art in Azerbaijan. In this festival Canadians also got acquainted with the mugham pieces performed by the winners of recent Azeri national mugham competition which was sponsored by the H. Aliyev Foundation of Azerbaijan. 

After the concert, I had a chance to talk to people who listened mugham for the first time. They said that indeed these pieces are the sacred music which bestows peace and inner understanding to recognize the beauties of the Creator. One of them listened the sacred sounds of tar and kemancha standing outside due to the shortage of the seats in the concert hall. However, he did not mind and preferred to stay and listen the music. He said that he was lucky to listen to the mugham today. 

 I also met two brothers, Stan and Tom, who told me that they came to the concert to hear Azerbaijani music which their fathers had once praised a lot. Stan, who is a philosopher and Tom  who teaches English as a second language told me that their father was born in Azerbaijan in 1909 when their grandfather worked as an oil engineer in oil fields of Baku. They keep their grandfather’s pictures with his Azeri friends who were great hunters. These photos had once been published in “Hunting” magazine of Poland. In the 1950's and 1960's when their Father visited the US the customs people would ask him where he was born. He would say in Azerbaijan and of course they did not where it was, except they figured that it was in the USSR which made their Father an immediate communist suspect, even though he was very anti-communist. Eventually he learned to simply say he was born in Toronto.The brothers promised to send me pictures. After the concert, Stan and Tom told that now they have an idea what kind of music their grandfather and father heard and why his grandfather never stopped talking about it. They wish one day to visit Azerbaijan where their father said hello to the world.

 You can get more information about the event by clicking the website at

 Nazila Isgandarova







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