Qarabagh Ensemble
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Qarabagh Ensemble

Baku, Baki, Azerbaijan | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Baku, Baki, Azerbaijan | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Folk Fusion




"Qarabagh Ensemble on "Hər axşam - Every Night" TV show Azerbaijan"

Video - Qarabagh Ensemble - Azerbaijan TV - April 26, 2016 - ATV Azerbaijan

"Azerbaijani mugam ensemble performed in Texas -“Qarabağ” ansamblı Texasda Azərbaycan muğamını ifa etdi"

Video - news website - April 2, 2016 - AZERTAG.AZ

"Friday SXSW Picks"

Friday, March 18, 2016
Qarabagh Ensemble - 8pm, Russian House
Performing Mugham, the region's indigenous music, Azerbaijan's finest musical export utilizes the tar (a lute), bowed kamancha, and naghara drum in moving from almost Celtic cadences to Middle Eastern music. Bandleader Agil Suleymanov, 23, employs a universal tenor to bridge the language gap, while the modality of the instrumentalism hypnotizes. The quartet's spent time at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas teaching and performing. – Michael Toland - The Austin Chronicle


April 2, 2015
Jason Gross - Breaking News Music - Video
This Azerbaijan folk quartet looked sedate and almost too professional, but between Agil Suleymanov’s soaring voice and Rustam Muslumov’s wild string bending on long-neck guitar (tar), they made a joyous sound indeed. - The Blot Magazine

"International SXSW: A multimedia exhibition of Azeri art hosted by La Peña Gallery"

March 13, 2015, By Mary Cantrell
Glen Dolfi, the curator of La Peña’s latest art exhibit, is bringing Azerbaijan to Texas.
The multimedia exhibition is a combination of photographs by Azeri photographer Rena Effendi, Azeri music and archival footage shot in Azerbaijan by French filmmaker Vincent Moon and radio-television-film senior Garson Ormiston.
Dolfi said the artists he met during his travels to Azerbaijan captivated him. He knew he had to bring their unrecognized talents to America.
“There are a lot of imaginative, creative people sort of hidden away,” Dolfi said. “Many people here don’t know anything about it.”
Dolfi said the artists come together to represent a poetic voice from a relatively unknown country. The photo series, titled “Liquid Land — Land of Fire,” compiles Effendi’s portraits of Azeri people and images of regional butterflies that Effendi’s father took.
“This is not just a photojournalism project; this is a connection from the area that [Effendi] grew up in,” Dolfi said. “She has this loving connection to her father, his work and photographs that were never published in his lifetime.”
In addition to the photographs, a number of musical artists from Azerbaijan will perform at the gallery during South By Southwest. Qarabagh Ensemble and Qaraqan, who will perform at an official SXSW showcase of artists that perform traditional Mugham folk music, will take part in the exhibit.
In an effort to make the exhibit interactive, Effendi’s printed photographs will hang along the north wall of the gallery and in trees surrounding the gallery — free for the taking.
Dolfi said “Liquid Land” stands out in SXSW’s increasingly commercialized climate. The project seeks to offer personal art that aims to bridge a gap between two communities isolated from one another, according to Dolfi.
“We’re bringing an international exhibit with international music to an international festival,” Dolfi said. “I think it’s a really positive step for the city of Austin and for La Peña to have the vision to bring international art.”
Ormiston filmed Azeri musicians when he traveled the country last summer. His footage will play in the gallery alongside the photographs and music performances. He said the archival footage acts as a window into an unseen world.
“I think it’s more like visual poetry. The way we shot it, it’s like a postcard of Azerbaijan,” Ormiston said. “It’s a way to show the culture, sites and sounds. It’s supposed to give you a sense of what the country’s like in a broad stroke.”
UT’s Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern studies are co-sponsoring the event. Mary Neuburger, director at the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, said the center supports the effort to inform people about the rich culture of Azerbaijan.
“Exposure to these powerful images connects us to distant realities, like the Azeri one, that both differ dramatically from our own, and yet, in their enduring humanity, are also deeply familiar.” Neuberger said. - The Daily Texan

"USA Performance and Merging mugham with rock music"

Video - MagTV Azerbaijan - May 2014 - Interview and performance - Qarabagh Ensemble and 5:59 talk about their recent U.S. trip and merged performances in Austin, Texas. - MagTV Azerbaijan

"SXSW Live Shot: Qarabagh Ensemble, Qaraqan, Diwan Saz"

Welcome to Azerbaijan
By Michael Toland, 8:55AM, Thu. Mar. 19, 2015
Safe bet that the average Yank has never heard of Azerbaijan, a country at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia – surrounded by Russia, Iran, Armenia, and the Caspian Sea. Tonight’s showcase brought not one, but two artists representing the country.

The Qarabagh Ensemble represents Azerbaijan’s traditions by performing Mugham, the region’s indigenous music. Bandleader Agil Suleymanov, 22, is formally trained in it. Utilizing the tar (a lute), the bowed kamancha, and naghara drum, the quartet jumped right in with an instrumental moving from almost Celtic cadences to Middle Eastern music.

The string-slingers engaged in a playful give-and-take universal to bands. Once Suleymanov added his clear tenor, the mesmerizing modality of the songs took on a transcendental aura. Most there didn’t understand the language, but that proved immaterial given the obvious joy inherent in the material. Such clear communication earned the band not only the rapt attention, but an encore.

By contrast, Qaraqan, born Elkhan Zeynalli and a bestselling author in his home country, engages more Western influences, as evidenced by the keyboard, guitar, and black T-shirt. As befits an artist known mainly for writing, Qaraqan rapped, chanted, and occasionally sang his work from paper over austere, often melancholy music. Given the language barrier and a lack of stage presence, his performance never compelled, though songs accompanied by the Qarabagh Ensemble generated some heat.

Though not from Azerbaijan, Diwan Saz still represents cultural traditions – several at once, in fact. Based in Israel, the group consists of Jews, Christians, and Muslims blending Hebrew and Arab musics. A protracted setup plagued by technical issues set the pace, as the band then spent its shortened set doing battle with feedback and recalcitrant monitors.

Even then, the octet’s energy and skill dispersed the cloud of mechanical crap, at least in the audience’s eyes. The high-energy blend of traditional instruments like saz and qanun with fretless bass and dumbek laid down a serious groove under spectacular vocal performances from 14-year-old Muhammad Gadir and Rabbi David Menachem. The crowd ate it up. - The Austin Chronicle

"Azerbaijan Music"

Video - Time Warner Cable News - Sally Zhang video report - March 2014 -
5:59 and Qarabagh Ensemble merged performance and interview at University of Texas. - Time Warner Cable News Austin


başlanğıclar / beginnings - studio (2015) and live national radio performance (2014) - to be released soon

"AZƏRBAYCAN SƏSLƏRI -The Sounds of AZERBAIJAN" ˜˜ - Petites Planètes 2013

"Qesheng" ("Nice") Azeri folk song adapted by Alakbar Tagiyev, - 2013

"Gozumun ichine bax" - Aqil Suleymanov & Rustem Muradli - 2012



Qarabagh Ensemble was formed in 2012 by Agil Suleymanov as a student at the National Conservatory, the center for the study of traditional music in Azerbaijan. All the musicians in the group began formal study of music as young children and progressed with practice and great care to learn the honored traditional music of Azerbaijan. Now as instructors and professional performers they join in an effort to share their music with the world. Composed of Agil Suleymanov, vocals; Elvin Novruzov, kamancha; Rustam Muslumov, tar; and Elnur Aliyev, naghara, they perform traditional mugham. Nijat Pashazade, bass; and Nijat Aslanov, keyboards, expand their music with jazz and modern interpretations. National Artists of Azerbaijan Mohlat Muslumov and Malakkhanim Eyyubova, join them to bring exceptional artistry to special inspired presentations.  

Aqil began study at the Bulbul Music School in 2005. Fahruz Sakhavat, the Honorary Artist of Azerbaijan, was his teacher. After finishing the school in 2011, he entered the National Conservatory of Azerbaijan with his instructor Sakina Ismayilova, the National Artist of Azerbaijan. He has been studying Mugham since age 9.

Elvin graduating from the National Conservatory, is an instructor now, and has toured performing his music, participating in state concerts in Italy, France, Austria, Russia, Turkey, Georgia, and Tajikistan. 

Rustam comes from a musical family, his father a famous traditional musician in Azerbaijan. He attended and graduated from  Asaf Zeynalli Music College and the National Conservatory and is now working as a teacher. He has performed in Iran, Turkey, Italy, France, and Moscow.

Elnur studied the naghara at the Bulbul Music School and the Soltan Hajibeyov Music College. He has performed in Turkey, Belarus, Minsk, and Moscow. He now teaches at the Children's Art School in the Gobu settlement.

Qarabagh Ensemble was selected and recorded in 2013 by Vincent Moon for his feature film "Azerbaijan, l’École du Vent" (2015). The audio recording of their performance in the Park Bulvar along the Caspian Sea was included in the album, "AZƏRBAYCAN SƏSLƏRI -The Sounds of AZERBAIJAN" ˜Petites Planètes, 2013.

The band has performed at academic events, traditional celebrations, and on TV and radio broadcasts in Azerbaijan.

The band created and presented a series of live performance broadcasts on national media over Azad Azerbaijan TV (ATV) and 106.3 FM Radio in the summer of 2014.

In February and March of 2014, the band traveled to the US, performing and recording in Austin Texas. They participated at the University of Texas in classes and in sharing their music. They met with students at the Moody School of Communications and the Butler School of Music at the University, demonstrating Azerbaijani traditional music and their special merging of mugham music with rock, joined by the Azerbaijani rock band 5.59. Their music was presented on public radio in Austin and they were introduced and interviewed by John Aielli on KUTX radio show "Eklektikos". They performed at the Deutsches Haus COOP in Austin, the Texas Union, and on March 17 as a guest artist in "Tradition and Innovation: Two worlds of Azerbaijani music" at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas.

   In 2015 the band was invited to perform at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. They were selected by National Public Radio (NPR) for "The Austin 100"- the top 100 bands to watch at SXSW 2015. They performed with acclaim and amazement.

Band Members