Club Outings: Trip to Xizi-Altiaghaj and Mugham Concert

It was the last snowy day of… April! The spring in Baku had never been so cold before. However, it would not stop the club members from getting together for the first outing to the beautiful mountains of Azerbaijan! We choose Xizi and Altiaghaj area for it is only 1.30 hours away from Baku. It is also where Azerbaijan’s unique red “Sarafat” mountains. Members had a chance to visit the Mikayil Mushvig’s museum.

In his poetry, Mushfig glorified the work of industrial workers and peasants and lauded the construction of industrial enterprises in Baku and other cities. According to Mushfig’s wife, Dilbar Akhundzadeh, Mikayil welcomed the transition from the Perso-Arabic script to the Latin script that took place in Azerbaijan in 1927. His excitement was expressed in the following verse:

And at parting,

My soul wants to tell you:

“Goodbye! Your last day has come,

Wretched old alphabet!” (Wikipedia)

The most exciting part of the whole trip was the short Mugham performance by Mahmud Salakh and his “Qedim Sherg” band. Famous US Professor of Montana University, Thomas Goltz even produced a film about Mahmud Salah and his ensemble Qhadim Sharq when they were in Montana. (Wikipedia).

Tar and Qhaval are the permanent “members” of all mugham ensembles founded by Mahmud Salah. These instruments now constitute the core of the group “Ghadim Sharq”. Their performances are common practice of mugham performance, rooted in old tradition.

Never mind the snow on that cold day in Xizi, we had managed to spend a magical time listening to Qaval, national Azerbaijani instrument, which in the professional hands of Salah, sings and cries and gets to your soul! It was specifically enchanting to listen to Mugham while it was heavy snowing outside.

We are planning more trips like this one soon again!

Nazrin Mirzayeva