She bridges the traditional and pop/jazz/worldmusic genres. She sings in Uzbek Turkic languages and also in Russian. She is one of my favorites.
Sevara Nazazrkhan, along with Yulduz Uzmanova, are credited to have brought Uzebek music from its relatively isolated Central Asian and Turkic music scenes, onto the world scene. Recent events in Uzbekistan remind us of the severe problems existing in the Caucuses and Central Asia due to the several imperial governments that have ruled through violence and heavy-handed central rule via invasions. Mongols, Turkic tribes, Persians and the Russians are the most standout imperial forces that have invaded and ruled the area, and influence the many kinds of peoples, cultures and tribes existing in the nation-state of Uzbekistan. The recent massacres in 2005, the Andijan massacres ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_civil_unrest_in_Uzbekistan), attest to the central government’s use of violence to control the state and having some of the worst human violations in the world that go along with impunity.
The rich cultural heritage of Uzbekistan’s cultural arts are reflected in Sevara Nazarkhan’s wonderful music. Islamic/Sufi spiritual tradition, Turkic communal music, popular music, Russian balladry, and various western and local dance styles dot the many music-scapes of Sevara’s albums. Please enjoy.
For wikipedia’s decent information on the history of this recording, please visit the following link. As always, especially with Wikipedia, please be careful when reading, being aware of how things are placed in wikipedia’s information. For instance, the way the the Roma word is insinuated (whether on purpose or not) ‘from’ Turkish in the Roma language. This may mistakenly be interpreted as the Roma ‘taking’ the word from that language, or that ‘Turkish’ came first. This is ‘Not’ the case. Throughout the hundreds of years of our history, people shared and made their own languages through sharings. The words are ‘related’ but to bring origins into it would be problematic. Thus is the problematic today with the ‘minoritization‘ – the ‘making of minorities’ through majority-rule formulations (majoritarianism) of history, logic, interpretation and subsequently–the positions that information take in the people’s minds, then used politically for certain advantages and disadvantages.
Kazuo Ohno 大野一雄 is considered the founder of modern euro-Japanese Butoh 舞踏artistic expression. Butoh is an art form that many consider to be Japan’s contribution to modern dance. For Kazuo Ohno and his students and those who study him, understand his ‘art’ to be far more than dancing and acting. Kazuo Ohno died on June 1, 2010.
He was born in the northern big island of Japan- Hokkaido, in the city of Hakodate in 1906. His childhood with a Russian-speaking father who was a fisherman, and a mother who was well-known for her expertise as a chef of European cuisine, and his early experiences being an athlete at a Christian college in Japan, also led him to become interested in dance and begin teaching modern dance in Japan. In 1938, he was drafted into the Japanese army when Japan began its intense quest to colonize Asia. Kazuo was an intelligence officer who served in China and New Guinea. He was captured by the Australian military during the war and was in an Australian POW camp for nine years.
Following the war, he immediately began dancing. He met Tatsumi Hijikata and learned Butoh arts and how it is connected to Japan’s postwar resistance to cultural devastation and depression. Hijikata rejected Western dance and anything ‘western’ at the time and with Ohno, developed what is considered to be the beginnings of the modern Butoh expression-forms that we know of today. Butoh arose as a resistance to Westernization in Japan after the war. As few people think about it as they read the word ‘war,’ Japan was devastated after being bombed by the allied forces, mainly the US. Its people were starving and there were no places to live. Trauma walked the streets, some in a daze. Many took up drugs and crime, eating rats to survive. Hundreds of thousands were orphaned children, as their families were melted and/or blown away by the bombs. Japanese people reacted in many ways. The Butoh arts was one which is informed by Japanese traditional arts such as Noh and Kabuki, but focused on ugliness, death, and ambiguity and the trauma that must now work to save oneself. In the 1960s, as Ohno studied with Hijikata, he wanted to develop more o his own style and began creating them, premeiring his first works in the late 70s.
I feel a kinship with Butoh because Butoh artists do not want to make us ‘understand’ as we watch. It begs for feeling and being present, as the some-would-call ‘strange’ and morbid movements and expressions along with the colors and the sets bring up things that most of us do not want to feel, or feel but not in such ways. It is Butoh’s way of making its way into the universe. Kazuo Ohno has said to all us who would listen: “To know the universe, one must examine its garbage or refuse.”
There is an excellent article in the London Times at this link:
A devout Baptist since his christening as a child, his themes of heaven and redemption were always present, yet infused with the cultural aspects of Kabuki, existentialism and European expressionist art philosophies and always through alternating humor and morbidity, looking at trauma and love.
His son Yoshito Ohno, carries his father’s tradition forward. Their wonderful website is worth a visit and honoring:
With his permission here are excerpts from a response from Ryan )aka ‘Tea Fruit Bat’) to my earlier post regarding his music and what it can do in the world:
I was reading some of the articles in your blog last night, many of which are very interesting. I especially enjoyed the one about ageism, and how older people should pay attention to the young, as well as vice versa. I can’t say I always understand what certain young people are saying or doing, but I am at least curious to see how they think about things and parse their experience (for those that *do* think about things, that is!). ……. I have lately gotten a couple of challenging new students who found me on YouTube……Though I am by no means a friend to all the youth of the earth (!), I always try to smooth the way for intelligent and sensitive young fellows who need the kind of attention and nurturing of their interests that I never got (but so sorely needed) in my youth. There will never be many such people, but helping even a couple is more than worthwhile for me, especially with my usually reclusive behavior.
Another thought about what you said about me in the blog. Not only do I champion lesser-known composers, but lesser-known instruments as well: the clavichord (of which I now own 4!) is the example I’m referring to. In this age of noise and attention-getting extravagance, the soft, sweet-toned clavichord, suitable for private music making in the home, and for the delectation of a few closely gathered friends, goes heavily against the grain of modern trends, but its whispering tones can speak to us powerfully—there is a saying that if you really want someone to pay attention, whisper. The concept of such a private instrument may seem to be at odds with some of what you have emphasized, e.g., the lack of social interaction and the drawbacks of individualism—but YouTube allows that experience, which may have special meaning for certain persons who don’t find it elsewhere, to reach a wider audience.
Here is a lively Bach piece played on the clavichord:
And a melancholy piece of Henry Purcell:
For work I have added the music to a couple of our laboratory’s videos of the North Pole web cam. we think the soft and ghostly sounds of the clavichord (and especially the quirky and melancholy music of Willhelm Freidemann Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s eldest son) complement the images well. See what you think:
My good friend Ryan Whitney aka ‘Professor Teafruitbat’ (tea fruit bat) displays his great talent on classical piano for us.
Ryan has been one of my longest-lasting friends, having met in Seattle when I lived there. He is a true European classicist. His library is filled with first editions of European classic philosophy and history and general literatures. His musical instruments are one-of-a-kind collections that make the interpretations of the music he plays that much more beautiful.
Ryan’s interest in classical music, however, are not the typical mainstream ways of classicism. Even as most European and US American cultures have been in the process of forgetting western classical music, within the preservation of the classical genre, there is a tendency to pay attention to the ‘more popular and well-known’ such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin and others. Ryan plays Chopin beautifully, as Chopin is one of my favorite classical composers. So I find Chopin pieces and who I think are the best interpretors of Chopin. I love my friend Ryan’s interpretations usually. Ryan plays some pieces of the main composers such as Bach and Chopin and others. But his focus is on the lesser know. Alexander Scriabin and Sergei Liapunov are amongst his favorites to interpret with his playing.
I feel that it is important that all of us do not just pay attention to the most popular. The most popular of anything is also a field in which control factors come into play. Our minds become less diverse and accepting in the course of paying attention to only the popular. Resistance within resistance. Resisting popular classical music with listening to the lesser known, does not make the more popular classical composers evil or bad or blah. Include. Feel, enjoy.