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TURSUN Sanubar - Arzu (Songs of the Uyghurs)
TURSUN Sanubar
Arzu (Songs of the Uyghurs)

Fy 8205
885016820527
Felmay Records
Cina
 
1 CD

Sanubar TURSU is the today Diva of Uyghurs music.
Stylistically Uyghur music lies somewhere between the Central Asian heartland and the sound worlds of Mongolia and China. Central Asian listeners are apt to dismiss Uyghur music—especially vocal music—as “sounding Chinese,” while for the Chinese, Uyghur music is something exotic and strange. In fact, Uyghur music is closely related to neighboring Central Asian urban traditions in many ways, from the use of small ensembles of long-necked lutes and frame drums to the Sufi poetic style of the lyrics. It is more broadly allied with the wider Islamic musical world, with an array of musical practices linked to Islamic practices.
Arzu is the first solo recording by Sanubar Tursun, one of the icons of Central Asia music, fully available in the Western market.


Sanubar TURSU is the today Diva of Uyghurs music.
Stylistically Uyghur music lies somewhere between the Central Asian heartland and the sound worlds of Mongolia and China. Central Asian listeners are apt to dismiss Uyghur music—especially vocal music—as “sounding Chinese,” while for the Chinese, Uyghur music is something exotic and strange. In fact, Uyghur music is closely related to neighboring Central Asian urban traditions in many ways, from the use of small ensembles of long-necked lutes and frame drums to the Sufi poetic style of the lyrics. It is more broadly allied with the wider Islamic musical world, with an array of musical practices linked to Islamic practices.
Uyghur music-making revolves around the meshrep (gathering or party) which draws people together for food, music and dancing. Historically, the local rulers of the various oasis kingdoms patronized musicians who performed the prestigious Muqam suites. The term is derived from the Arabic maqām, but the style is local, and each of the major oases boasts its own Muqam tradition.
The singing style is highly ornamented, and the songs often employ the aqsaq ‘limping’ rhythms which are also found in the rhythms of the Sufi zikr chants. Each of Xinjiang’s oasis towns has its own distinctive musical style and repertoire. The distinctive swoops and leaps of the melody in the songs of the northern Ili valley lead some to dub them ‘wolf songs’. This is a far from an insult: the wolf is the totemic ancestor of the Uyghurs.
These local distinctions have blurred over the past few decades with the introduction of a Uyghur recording industry. Today the style of the northern Ili valley is the most popular across the region, and it is the family of musicians featured in this CD, the Tursuns, who have done most to promote it in recent years.
Sanubar Tursun, her older brother Nur Muhemmet, and younger twin brothers Hesenjan and Husanjan, were born into a large family in the northern town of Ghulja (in Chinese: Yining) in the Ili valley. Sanubar and Nur Muhemmet released a series of VCDs (cheap digital video technology) in the 1990s featuring the Ili repertoire performed in new ways. The artistry of Sanubar’s vocals and the extraordinary virtuosity of Nur Muhemmet’s instrumental playing propelled them to instant recognition.
Over the past fifteen years, Sanubar has been performing more and more of her own compositions, rooted in the traditional style of her home region, and performed solo accompanying herself on the or supported by her brothers on other traditional instruments. These solo albums are also very popular and widely imitated, and they have established her reputation as the pre-eminent Uyghur female singer-songwriter and a national icon.
More recently, Sanubar has engaged in international collaborations, performing in Turkey, Japan and Taiwan, studying composition at the Shanghai Conservatory, and working with the American pipa player, Wu Man.




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  Musicians

Sanubar Tursun - vocals
Nur Muhemmet Tursun - tambur, satar, and dutar

 
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