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Alim Qasimov

Routes in Rhythm 2004

From Azerbaijan

The poetic voice of central Asia
Alim Qasimov
Alim Qasimov – voice/ Rauf Islamov – kamancha
Malik Mansurov – tar/Natik Shirinov – nagara

"A consumate artist pushing the limits of his art form." - SONGLINES

" Qasimov is pure vocal excitement, on a par with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan." - fROOTS

Saturday 24th January 8pm Liberty Hall Centre, Eden Quay D1

Adm €25 (inc. booking fee) from Central Ticket Bureau tel 01 872 1122
& Claddagh Records Temple Bar online bookings @

Now entering its fourth year, Routes in Rhythm has traversed the globe in its pursuit of authentic musical artistry and starts it 2004 season with an artist who embodies that aspiration, Azerbaijan’s extraordinary mugham singer, Alim Qasimov. With his stellar voice, exquisite improvisations and transcendent aura, Qasimov has drawn inevitable comparison with Pakistan’s Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and, like the late master of Qawaali, was a recipient of the 1999 UNESCO International Music Prize.

Despite its suppression during the Soviet era, the poetic mugham remains deeply rooted throughout The Caucasus and is revered among the Turkic people of Central Asia. As sophisticated in its form as Indian classical music, each mugham is a suite composed of several elements, including an introductory improvisation (bardasht), extended melody (reng) then folk song (tasnif), finally giving way to a passionate invocation drawn from Islamic poetic texts. The mugham singer enlists a palette of instruments that has evolved over millennia to usher his audience into a state of inner emotional grace, driven by the tar, a traditional lute crafted from the mulberry tree and melodic accompaniment from the fiddle-like kamanche, with hypnotic cyclical rhythms provided by a metallic bowl drum (nagara) and wooden frame drum (daf).

From the humblest of origins in the remote hinterland of Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, Qasimov’s lifelong devotion has endowed him with a seductive power that reaches out beyond language and creed , and places him in the pantheon of the world’s greatest singers. From breathy whisper to full voiced fortissimo, when Qasimov sings, he emits more than technical virtuosity and cultured refinement. This is a singer who serves love in all its manifestations, immersed in its pain, melancholy and ecstasy, mining his soul to create an emotional charge, its source high in The Caucus Mountains, reverberating across the globe with an ancient and universal truth.

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