For the Silk Road Ensemble musicians, hearing the ethereal voice of Azerbaijani mugham singer Alim Qasimov put their years of conservatory training into serious question. As they delved into the mugham, they each wondered, “If this is how music should be played what have I been doing all these years?”
Back then there were few versions of it online and it took me a couple years to find the lyrics, but as soon as I found them I started singing along with the CD. It wasn’t until 2011 that I developed a solo cello version of it that I could sing along to while playing. I first performed that version at the Terrabeat Cultural Showcase at the Rudyard Kipling in Louisville on 5 August 2011. I’ve since performed it a number of times throughout the years with some of my other projects (Secondhand, Camera Lucida). It is with great pleasure I’ll now get to sing it with an arrangement I’ve written for my new world music project, Sulh!
Jon Silpayamanant performing “Kor Ərəbin Mahnısı” at the Rudyard Kipling in Louisville. August 5, 2011