Ashkhabad

Ashkhabad is the capital of Turkmenistan and its cultural heart. The city's finest musicians have come together and called themselves Ashkhabad, a word which derives from the Persian language and means 'city of love.
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The Orient has always been a cultural melting pot and so is the music of Ashkhabad. Atabai Tsharykuliev (vocals, tar), Gassan Mamedov (violin), Sabir Rizaev (clarinet, soprano saxophone, serp, nagara), Kurban Kurbanov (accordion, piano) and Khakberdy Allamuradov (dep, serp, nagara) play an exciting mixture of traditional Turkmenian music infused with elements from Persia, Azerbeidjan and Turkey. They have been influenced by everything they’ve ever heard: from the sounds of the desert to jazz and rock.

When John Leckie – best known as a producer of guitar rock bands – first heard Ashkhabad, he was struck by their musical mastery and by the heartfelt beauty of their music. He knew instantly he had to go into a studio with them.

The result is a completely acoustic recording – truly unplugged. It captures the intensity of feeling and the romanticism of Ashkhabad’s music.

Atabai Charykuliev, whose image featured so strikingly on the cover of City of Love, died in Ashkhabad in March 2009.

 

Ashkhabad

Turkmenistan

Further reading

‘Panter’ by Montparnasse Musique released on new imprint, Real World X

'Panter' combines the acoustic grit of traditional Africa with the pulse of modern Johannesburg.

Announcing M’berra: the forthcoming album by Khalab & M’berra Ensemble

M'berra is out on Real World Records on 23 April 2021.

A New Year’s Resolution for 2021: Learn to speak another language

Why you should learn another language, and where to go to learn beginner Bambara, Swahili and Urdu.

Track of the day: ‘Curfew’ by Khalab & M’berra Ensemble

'Curfew' is taken from the forthcoming album M'berra, out on 23 April 2021.