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Inspired by the Ottomans:
Pedja Mužijević, piano

Share in the spell that Ottoman music cast on European composers, from Mozart’s famous “Rondo Alla Turca,” of the 1780s, to music written just after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Marco Tajcevic’s 1926 “Seven Balkan Dances”­—widely played as a virtuoso vehicle—reflects music from areas ruled by the Ottomans for five hundred years. The “Music of the Sayyids and the Dervishes,” from the mid-1920s, by mystic philosopher G. I. Gurdjieff and Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann, melds the improvisational style of Turkish taksim with the rhythms of Mevlevi devotion. This concert was presented in 2006 in conjunction with the exhibition Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey.

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Virtuosos from the Siberian republic of Tuva sing on the steps of the Freer Gallery of Art in 2002.

Four virtuosos from the Siberian republic of Tuva astonished listeners with their overtone singing in this concert, which was recorded on the steps of the Freer Gallery of Art in 2002.

Throat Singers from Tuva:
Huun-Huur-Tu

Four virtuosos from the Siberian republic of Tuva astonished listeners with their overtone singing in this concert at the Freer Gallery. Each singer’s ability to produce multiple pitches at once draws on ancient pastoral music that invokes the rich sounds of nature, from waterfalls and babbling brooks to complex bird songs and the howling winds of the steppe. This live performance was recorded on the steps of the Freer Gallery of Art in 2002.

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Experience soulful and celebratory music from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan with Shashmaqam, an ensemble of prominent artists from New York’s Central Asian community. This performance was presented in 2018 in conjunction with the exhibition To Dye For: Ikats from Central Asia.

Music of Central Asia: Shashmaqam

Experience soulful and celebratory music from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan with Shashmaqam, an ensemble of prominent artists from New York’s Central Asian community. The ensemble specializes in wedding music for vocals, lute (tar), accordion, and percussion, as well as the region’s classical repertoire for which the group is named. This performance was presented in 2018 in conjunction with the exhibition To Dye For: Ikats from Central Asia.

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Vocalist Ustād Mahwash performing at the Freer and Sackler Galleries

Vocalist Ustād Mahwash is accompanied by Ahsan Ahmad on tabla (drums) and Khalil Ragheb on vocals and harmonium (keyboard) in performance at the Freer and Sackler Galleries in January 2017 within the exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan.

The Art of Afghan Music: Ustād Mahwash, vocals

Afghanistan’s most beloved singer, Ustād Farīda Mahwash, performs romantic Persian poetry, Kabuli songs, and Afghan folk music. She received the BBC World Music Award for the CD Radio Kaboul. A former star on Radio Afghanistan, Mahwash left the country in 1991 and now lives and performs in the United States. Ahsan Ahmad on tabla (drums) and Khalil Ragheb on vocals and harmonium (keyboard) accompany her.

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The Art of Afghan Music: Quraishi, rubab

Enjoy music from Afghanistan as Quraishi performs on the rubāb. The twenty “sympathetic strings” of Afghanistan’s national instrument give this traditional lute a hauntingly beautiful sound. Quraishi performs folk melodies from across the country and Afghan classical music dating to nineteenth-century Kabul, when the city’s rulers imported outstanding musicians from Lahore.

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two musicians on stage playing instruments

The Art of Afghan Music

Homayun Sakhi, rubāb; Salar Nader, tabla
Enjoy Afghan folk and classical music performed by Homayun Sakhi, a leading exponent of the eighteen-stringed rubāb (lute). He performs folk songs from Kabul, dance tunes from the Panjsher Valley, and Indian ragas that Afghans have prized since the Mughal era. Homayun Sakhi has performed at Carnegie Hall with Salar Nader and is featured on two Smithsonian Folkways recordings. His appearances at the Freer|Sackler were presented in 2016 in collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Initiative and in conjunction with the exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan.

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The Bardic Divas: Women’s Voices from Kazakhstan

Experience the powerful music of Kazakhstan’s nomadic culture, performed by three women who specialize in performing heroic epics, lyrical songs of celebration, and shamanic fiddle. Their music evokes the expansive plains and open skies of Central Asia as well as the long history of the Kazakhs who have prospered in a harshly beautiful land at the heart of the Silk Road. This concert features Ulzhan Baibosynova and Ardak Issataeva on vocals and dombyra (Kazakh lute) and Raushan Orazbaeva on qobyz (Kazakh fiddle). It was presented in conjunction with the exhibition Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan in 2012.

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