Films of Growing into Music in Azerbaijan


Growing into music Azerbaijan

A 90-minute Beyond Text: Growing into Music film by Sanubar Baghirova. Edited by Michele Banal. Filmed by Nicolas Magriel (2009) and Michele Banal (2012). ©Sanubar Baghirova and SOAS University of London 2013.     

This documentary shot on location between 2009-2012 is about children from urban and rural areas of Azerbaijan who study traditional music to become professional musicians, or to play it just for their own pleasure. The film follows them in mugham classes at the Central Bulbul Music School, in ashiq classes at the Baku music school No. 22, outdoors in Gedabey and Shamakhy, and on different concert stages, feeling a bit shy and bit stiffen, or more relaxed in their homes among  their parents and relatives. Some of these children come from the  families of renowned traditional Azerbaijani musicians, such as a great mugham singer Alim Gasimov, a celebrated singer Gochag Askarov, or outstanding performers on traditional musical instruments Shirzad Fataliyev (balaban, zurna), Mirjavad Jafarov (tar, ud), Mehman Mikayilov (tar). However, most of these children come from ordinary families from towns and villages in Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia.  Some of the families were ousted from Azerbaijani settlements in Armenia.  They had to flee from occupation, and found temporary refuge in Baku. They left behind everything: their homes, their belongings, family photos, memories… .  What they have managed to take with them and pass down to their children though, was their great love for national music.

Sanubar Bahgirova

© Lucy Durán, Nicolas Magriel, Geoff Baker 2011