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

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Featuring Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, the series follows the hugely popular 'Long Way Down'

Bab L’ Bluz’s Yousra Mansour guests on BBC Music Life podcast

Yousra discusses her creative processes with Derya Yildirim, Hasan Nakhleh, Merve Erdem.

16 August: A day to remember music royalty

Aretha Franklin, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Robert Johnson and Elvis Presley share the same anniversary...

Late Night Laments: Track by Track

Tim Bowness talks us through the songs on his new album, Late Night Laments.