Nomads, Mystics and Troubadours

“A revelation of musical riches hidden from the West for centuries” – Independent, UK

October 12 – November 9, 2007


Major North American tour to feature 17 musical masters showcasing the richness and diversity of Central Asian cultures

Seventeen musicians from Central Asia, a culturally dynamic and rapidly changing region, will share their mastery of traditions at once ancient and contemporary in an 11-city North American tour beginning on October 12th. The tour, “Spiritual Sounds of Central Asia: Nomads, Mystics, and Troubadours,” will provide North American audiences with a rare opportunity to hear music from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. Concerts will feature a panoramic range of vocal and instrumental music that showcases some of Central Asia’s finest performers, most of whom are making their North American debuts.

The artists, several of whom are making their North American debuts, will include the legendary Azerbaijani vocalist Alim Qasimov, whom the French newspaper Le Monde hailed as “one of the most beautiful voices of our era,” and his daughter Fargana; Bardic Divas, two women from Kazakhstan who demonstrate the power and beauty of the female voice; and the Badakhshan Ensemble, which performs trance-inducing mystical songs from the majestic Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, an area known in Persian as bam-i dunya, “the roof of the world.” The concerts will include introductory documentary films about the featured musicians; supertitles with translations of song lyrics; and live, large-screen video close-ups. In addition, the tour will include children’s programs, university lectures and residencies, pre-concert discussions and museum presentations.

The 2007 tour is a groundbreaking collaboration between the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia (AKMICA), a program of the Geneva-based Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), and the New York-based World Music Institute (WMI). The Music Initiative aims to preserve and nurture the indigenous musical traditions of Central Asia, and to ensure the transmission of the region’s musical heritage to new generations of artists and audiences. WMI, a renowned performing arts presenter, is dedicated to presenting the finest traditional music and dance from around the world. The touring artists are also celebrated with the release of three new CD’s on the Smithsonian Folkways label’s “Music of Central Asia” series, releasing Oct. 9.


Friday, October 12, 2007: TORONTO, ON
Roy Thomson Hall - 8:00PM

Sunday, October 14, 2007: BOSTON, MA
Sanders Theater, Harvard University – 7:30PM

Thursday, October, 18, 2007: ROCHESTER, NY
Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music – 8:00PM

Sunday, October, 21, 2007: CLEVELAND, OH
Cleveland Museum of Natural History – 7:30PM

Wednesday, October, 24, 2007: ANN ARBOR, MI
Lecture Demonstration at the University Musical Society of the University of Michigan - 11:00AM
Michigan Center at 8:00PM

Saturday, October, 27, 2007: NEW YORK, NY
Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall – 7:30PM

Sunday, October, 28, 2007: COLLEGE STATION, TX
Frymire Auditorium, Texas A&M University – 8:00PM

Monday, October, 29, 2007: COLLEGE STATION, TX
Lecture Demonstrations (4) at Texas A& M, Department of Performance Studies (Times TBD)

Tuesday, October, 30, 2007: HOUSTON, TX
Wortham Center – 8:00PM - SOLD OUT

Wednesday, October 31, 2007: HOUSTON, TX
Lecture Demonstrations (2) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston - 10:15AM & 11:30AM

Friday, November 2, 2007: LOS ANGELES, CA
Royce Hall, UCLA – 8:00PM

Saturday, November 3, 2007: CLAIRMONT, CA
Lecture Demonstration at the Little Bridges Hall of Music, Pomona College – 8:00PM

Monday, November 5, 2007: SANTA BARBARA, CA
Campbell Hall, University of California Santa Barbara – 8:00PM

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: SANTA BARBARA, CA
Lecture Demonstration (2) at University of California Santa Barbara - 2:00PM & 6:00PM

Thursday, November 8, 2007: CHICAGO, IL
Lecture Demonstration at Northwestern University – 3:30PM
Chicago Cultural Center – 8:00PM

Friday, November 9, 2007: CHICAGO, IL
Chicago Symphony Hall – 8:00PM

AKMICA was founded in 2000 by His Highness the Aga Khan. Notable AKMICA projects range from a collaboration with celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project to an ongoing partnership with the Smithsonian Institution for the production of "Music of Central Asia," a 10-volume CD-DVD series released on the Smithsonian Folkways label. Three new CD+DVD collections, to be issued in October, will feature touring artists Alim and Fargana Qasimov, the Bardic Divas, and the Badakhshan Ensemble.

WMI is regarded as the US’s premier presenter of traditional music and dance from around the world. Since its founding in 1985, WMI has built the most comprehensive concerts series of world music and dance in the United States. In addition to presenting more than 60 concerts in New York each season, WMI organizes tours throughout North America. Tour highlights include Pakistan’s qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Masters of Persian Music, and Gypsy Caravan.

Info on the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia and the other programs in the Aga Khan Development Network www.akdn.org Info on World Music Institute at http://www.worldmusicinstitute.org


MUSIC OF CENTRAL ASIA vol 4: BARDIC DIVAS: Women’s Voices in Central Asia [40523]

MUSIC OF CENTRAL ASIA vol 5: BADAKHSHAN ENSEMBLE: Songs and Dances from the Pamir Mountains [40524]

MUSIC OF CENTRAL ASIA vol 6: ALIM AND FARGANA QASIMOV: Spiritual Music from Azerbaijan [40525]