Isfar Sarabski

— It’s really another continent, almost a different planet. Describe Brazil to us.

Yes, I agree. It is really completely different planet. I often travel, I saw many places, but Brazil has amazed me. I was amazed by the dimensions. I got a chance to breath freely, breath in full. To enjoy air. This process can be called in different ways. I managed to enjoy easy, just simple communication. And, of course, the soundtrack to all of this is samba. I’ve been a fan of this genre before, but now the samba has become something very close to me. Brazil, particularly Rio de Janeiro, became a truly discovery for me.

 

— Did you imbue Jobim mood? Did you set foot on the sands of the very Ipanema?

 

Definitely imbued and it was incredibly pleasant, because I’m a big fan of the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim. And when I learned and realized that this is the same beach (D.H. – The Girl From Ipanema is the most famous composition of Jobim and is a classic of the Bossa Nova genre), I was delighted. Hypnotizing noise of the ocean, pleasant sounds of Portuguese speech, rhythms of samba – all this turned out to be exactly how I imagined Rio.

 

— Both they and we are southerners. Did it seem to you that we share similar temperament? Or…?

 

Yes, by the way it was also a big discovery for me. Although I do not speak Portuguese, it was easy for me. We were establishing communication in seconds, and when I tried to repeat the movements of the samba dance, people always smiled back, watched and supported. You could felt pleasant contact between me and the inhabitants of this beautiful city, Rio.

 

— Let’s talk about music. You flew there with a trio and tar player Shahriyar Imanov. Had several concerts in different cities. Certainly there was an emphasis on folk style and motifs. How did the audience receive you? Were you able to get those real emotions from audience? This is an important aspect, because it is not always possible to organize and establish this invisible connection with the public.

 

As for the music. You know, it was very interesting. As soon as we have arrived we held a two-hour master class. I was very glad to see big number of local residents who came to the master class. They asked interesting questions about national instruments, mugham, were interested in its folk lads. Shahriyar talked about the history of the origin and formation of mugham, of tar and its types. In other words, he gave a whole excursus about the national ouevre of Azerbaijan. In my turn, I talked about the process of synthesis of jazz music and mugham, also told about its history. I told why and how it all started and what we have now, for today. People were deeply interested, that is why we were enthusiastic about it and had great pleasure. By the way, I can’t say that the program of concerts was focused only on folk music. It almost entirely consisted of my compositions. Which, by the way, will be included in the upcoming album. However, the playlist also includes the compositions of Shahriyar Imanov, which he performed solo, arrangement for “Swan Lake” by Petr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, as well as one jazz standard “Bewitched”. In other words, the program started with my own tracks, then with his solo composition appeared Shahriyar, who completely changed the mood and in the end, we played together Edge, Novruz and G-man. After each concert, people were delighted. They were interested in creativity, asked about the life and culture of Azerbaijan and generally expressed a bunch of pleasant words and wishes.

 

— You travelled to many countries, so if that’s possible to say, you’ve seen enough. Tell me, did Brazil manage to occupy some special place in your head? Or maybe even in the heart?

 

I can say it surely did. And it was Rio who took his place in my head and heart! Yes, there are cities in which I am happy to return, wonderful listeners around the world, and, you know, every place on earth is unique and beautiful in its own way. Each country and city has its own interesting energy. But Rio, just responded to the call of my heart and I’m thinking of going back there urgently. I discovered there something new and moral, and physical for myself. All these walks, dances, the ocean, air, samba, people, it all turned out to be very close to me spiritually. And again, returning to samba.It had a very strong influence on me there. I managed to get to a performance, where there were 8 musicians – four drummers, three instrumentalists (guitar, mandarin, soprano saxophone and clarinet alternated each other) and vocalist. I listened and watched the audience and the dancing. How do they feel this music and how wonderful it turns out! How many positive emotions are in the air! And it is clear that it is very important for them that they appreciate and try to preserve this culture. After all, it’s no secret that people mainly listen to pop music now and young people in Brazil are no exception. I was told that both the middle and older generation are trying very hard to keep their folklore, their samba. And I think that they are very good at it! I, as a foreigner, have had a tremendous pleasure and really think about coming back and definitely visit samba evenings. To listen and dance!

İsfar Sarabski  (foto: Sitara İbrahimova)

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