Mugham Souls - Gochag Askarov & Pierre de Trégomain
« There is a moving poetry in the communion of these profound singing souls » / fff (Anne
« A remarkable achievement »/ **** (Simon Broughton – Songlines UK)
« Highly recommended » / **** (Alberto Bazzurro – Allaboutjazz Italia)
« Two singing soul brothers » / (Folker, Germany)
« A beautiful dialogue between worlds in harmony » (Blogfoolk / Italy)
Today I attended the concert of brilliant mugham singer Gochag Askarov and well-known french jazz musician Pierre de Trégomain. This concert wasn’t some kind of entertainment, distraction or chill out moment, this was a true rest, a true food for the soul, of a kind that we haven’t been used to lately. Gochag and Pierre singing mugham together, Pierre’s zengüle, and on the top of that the accompaniment on tar, kamancheh and other instruments to Pierre’s songs in English and French … I can hardly find words to express my feelings, it was like a second breath for my almost dead soul. » A member of the audience at Mugham Center (Baku) on 5th of november 2016.
« These two vocalists – one raised in the European jazz tradition and another in classical mugham culture – managed to reconcile, and not merely juxtapose, these two different musical grammars. They seemed to understand each other perfectly on stage as if they had been performing together for years. The concert left an indelible impression with its degree of artistry and spiritual completeness. » Sanubar Baghirova, ethnomusicologist (Bulletin of the ICTM Vol. 131 — April 2016, p. 12).
Mugham Souls is the exceptional encounter of two vocalists - raised in two different cultures, they share a commun source to create a spiritual repertoire
When french jazzman Pierre de Trégomain discovered Gochag Askarov’s album « Mugham: Traditional Music of Azerbaidjan » (Felmay Records), he decided to go to Baku in February 2016 to learn Mugham with him. The musical encounter was so evident and creative that both singers decided to start a transcultural collaboration: they gathered the most talented musicians of their generation and created an unprecedented repertoire made of traditional mugham, original compositions and improvisations. They recorded their repertoire in November 2016 at the prestigious Mugham Center in Baku, under the cameras of national television ATV. Their live album was released on italian Label Felmay Records in november 2017.
Gochag Askarov belongs to a new generation of Mugham musician – an ecstatic sufi music from Azerbaijan which was proclaimed Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 2003. He was born in 1978 und started to sing since his youth. He studied music and traditional vocals at the Baku Music College and at the National Conservatoire. He began an international carrer in 2007 when he was invited to perform at BBC and Womad festival in London. In 2009 he won the First Prize of the notable International World Music Festival in Samarqand/Uzbekistan and has been playing in most prestigious world music festivals in Europe, Asia, Australia and America. He has recorded five albums, which were granted with exceptional reviews – « Called the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan of mugham, Gochag Askarov performs with uncommon passion this traditional music from Azerbaijan » (Last album: « Mugham », Felmay Records, 2013 – ffff, Télérama).
French vocalist and composer Pierre de Trégomain (1974) won in 2008 the first prize of french contest Crest Jazz Vocal and became a central figure in vocal jazz: well-known Belgian singer David Linx introduced him in the booklet of his first album « My Cold Song » (2010) as « a high flyer, European jazz à la française » and he was selected by Jazz Magazine among the « most essential male singers ». He toured intensively in clubs and festivals in Europe and beyond with his Quartet and gained a solid reputation for his stage performances. His passion for improvisation and his quest for transcendent music led him to explore new musical horizons – baroque countertenor and sufi inspired traditions -, which enabled him to deepen his « inner connection » as he says – his ability to link music and emotion. Besides his Quartet, Pierre de Trégomain performs with various musicians, from electro to classical. (Last album: « Shelter », 2015, **** Jazz Magazine)
Elnur Mikayilov is one of the most acclaimed young Kamancheh (Azeri fiddle) players. He was born in the ancient city of Shamakhi, Azerbaijan. A graduate of Baku National Conservatory, Mikayilov started his musical career from the age of 19. He has been touring intensively nationally and internationally for the past twelve years. Mikayilov participated in numerous international festivals in Australia, America, Europe and Asia. Elnur’s speciality is in music of classical Mugham and Folklore but he has extensive experience working with musical styles such as symphonic and jazz. He is the principal Kamancheh player for several acclaimed Mugham Music Ensembles. He holds an ongoing appearance on the national Azerbaijani TV channels.
Kamran Karimov (1976) was born in a family of well-known percussionists. He studied at Asef Zeynalli College and at Baku Music Academy where he specialized in percussion. He is considered to be one of the most talented nagara players, a specific drum for traditional music of Azerbaijan, which he taught at Asef Zeynalli College before he entered the Azerbaijan National Conservatory as an accompanist. He has been playing in the main world music festivals in Asia, Europe and America.
Vasif Huseynzade was born in 1985 in Baku where he studied music – he graduated at Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University in 2007. He developed a rare talent of being a pianist and composer which brought him several prizes. He has participated to festivals in Azerbaijan and abroad and is highly considered for his ability to connect jazz with traditional folkmusic such as mugham.
Ibrahim Babayev was not even 10 years old when he started to learn music. He was born in 1997 and chose the tar instrument which he studied intensively at the National Conservatory. He won among others the 1st prize of the American Protegee International Competition in New-York in 2015, and he was the winner of the international contest in Tashkent / Uzbekistan in 2016. He is also the tar player of the ensemble of Xatire in AZTV (National TV and Radio channel).