Art And Culture

Tabriz to Host ‘Ashiklar’ Festival in March

Tabriz to Host ‘Ashiklar’ Festival in March
Tabriz to Host ‘Ashiklar’ Festival in March

Tabriz, capital of East Azarbaijan Province, will host the ‘Ashiklar Music Festival’ from March 6-8.

The festival will pay tribute to Ashik Rasool Qurbani, 81, one of the most famous Iranian ashiks, and Turkic ethnic music performers and singers. 

An ashik is a singer who accompanies his song— be it a dastan, also known as hikaye (traditional epic stories) a shorter original composition—with a long necked lute (baglama) in Azerbaijani culture and related Turkic cultures. 

The event is organized by East Azarbaijan Music Association whose director Shahrokh Panahi told Honaronline that the festival is being held “to help preserve the genuine regional culture and art. It seeks to attract the youth to ethnic art and music, identify provincial artistic talent and promote cultural interaction among the people.”

The festival has three sections: group performance, solo singing and solo playing, and in each section participants will compete for the awards.

Only the conventional instruments used in ashik performances will be allowed in the festival. Gopuz, an ancient fretless string instrument often held chest-high when played, is one of the instruments, as also balaban, a double-reed wind instrument with seven holes and one for the thumb.

Surnay or zurna is another permitted wind instrument. It is a conical oboe, generating a sharp, piercing sound. When there is a surnay around, one looks for its ancient companions, the dhol and davul, which are also listed in the festival’s instruments. Daf, of course, is another instrument whose deep, voluminous sound is expected to be heard at the event.

“When playing solo, participants can be accompanied by other players. Solo singers too can be accompanied by one gopuz player. A solo singer can also participate in group performances,” Panahi added.

Enthusiasts can submit the video of their performances by February 13 to the festival secretariat at the office of East Azarbaijan Music Association, located at 29-Bahman Cultural Complex, Shahryar Blvd, Tabriz. 

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