A MUSICAL BRIDGE
The Aga Khan Development Network
The hush at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts is palpable. The lights are dim as people rustle with their programs and scan the stage, waiting for the musical journey they are about to take with the Homayun Sakhi Trio, and to be later accompanied by the world-famous Kronos Quartet. The low platform upon the stage is set. Three spaces for three musicians and their instruments: the rubab, tabla, and dorya. When the musicians enter wearing traditional garb, adorned with colourful scarves, anticipation fills the room. The three men walk barefoot toward their instruments and sit. They tune their instruments, breathe deeply, share a smile, and begin.
Homayun Sakhi breaks the silence with a few melodic notes on the stringed rubab, a traditional instrument of Afghanistan. After a moment, Sakhi nods at tabla player Salar Nader, and the traditional Indian hand drums softly join in. Then, a glance at the last musician, Abbos Kosimov, invites the dorya, a tambourine-like instrument from Uzbekistan, to enter the piece, and so the evening goes. The men play individually and collectively, gently and powerfully, playfully and seriously. They use their eyes to communicate tempo, direction, and respect for one another’s impressive solos. Their fingers move at lightning speed, performing tricky runs and masterful improvisations. Halfway through the concert, they are joined by the Kronos Quartet, who weave their celebrated modern strings in with the traditional music, taking the performance to new heights and eliciting a thunderous applause at the end of the evening.
The performance was a collaboration of the Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI) and the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia. Its purpose was to foster musical and cultural dialogue and artistic exchange, and brought the traditional music of Central Asia together with contemporary Western sounds to make music that is tradition-inspired but not tradition-limited. As Fairouz Nishanova, director of the Geneva, Switzerland–based AKMI, explains, “The Chan Centre in Vancouver provides such a vibrant platform for students, art lovers, academics, and immigrant communities to experience art—allowing us the opportunity to reach out to many different audiences at the same time in one space. The richness of the community that calls the Chan Centre their home is an example of the pluralism that makes Canada so unique.”
2012 France Musique Prize for World Music Awarded to Aga Khan Music Initiative Artist Abduvali Abdurashidov
Marseille, 15 March 2012 -- The 2012 France Music World Music Prize has been awarded to the Tajik Artist, Abduvali Abdurashidov, at the international Babel Med Music forum in Marseille.
Mr. Abdurashidov was honoured for his mastery of the tanbur and sato, the main accompanying instruments for the performance of the Shashmaqom, the classical music of the Tajik and Uzbeks of Central Asia. The tanbur is a long-necked plucked lute with raised frets while the sato is an increasingly rare form of bowed tanbur.
He was also honoured for his critical and historical study of the music and poetry of the maqom tradition, which he undertook at the Academy of Maqom, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Created with the help of the Aga Khan Music Initiative in 2003, the Academy of Maqom takes its name from the venerable tradition of classical or court music that spans the Muslim world from Morocco to western China.
Six maqoms constitute the systematically organized repertory of Central Asian classical music known as Shashmaqom (six maqoms). The roots of Shashmaqom are linked most strongly with Bukhara, a historically multicultural city where performers and audiences included Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Central Asian (Bukharan) Jews. Shashmaqom performers were typically bilingual in Uzbek, a Turkic language, and Tajik, an eastern dialect of Persian, and sang poetic texts in both languages.
An album, dedicated to the Shashmaqom, is to be published by Ocora and disseminated widely on Radio France. Mr. Abdurashidov’s music is currently available on the Smithsonian Folkways/Aga Khan Music Initiative CD/DVD release “Music of Central Asia Vol. 2: Invisible Face of the Beloved: Classical Music of the Tajiks and Uzbeks”.
For more information about Mr. Abdurashidov and the Academy of Maqom, please see his page on the Aga Khan Music Initiative site.
Aga Khan Development Network
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About the Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI)
The Aga Khan Music Initiative is an interregional music and arts education program with worldwide performance, outreach, mentoring, and artistic production activities. The Initiative was launched by His Highness the Aga Khan to support talented musicians and music educators working to preserve, transmit, and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms. Music Initiative began its work in Central Asia, subsequently expanding its cultural development activities to include artistic communities and audiences in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. AKMI designs and implements a country-specific set of activities for each country into which it invests and works to promote revitalization of cultural heritage both as a source of livelihood for musicians and as a means to strengthen pluralism in nations where it is challenged by social, political, and economic constraints.
Learn more at http://www.akdn.org/music
Zenana Bagh gives women a space of their own
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
The park in Nizamuddin Basti is the result of a new initiative by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture
“This space was appropriated by garbage, animals and addicts. There was no way we could even step in here…” Najma says as she encourages you to look around the recently renovated park in the middle of the Nizamuddin Basti in Delhi, christened the Zenana Bagh (Women's Park). Marked by high walls with sandstone jalis (latticework), manicured lawns and the absence of men, this women's only space in a conservative locality is the new hangout for shy adolescents, home makers in need of a breather and the older women who want to exchange notes on recipes and domestic squabbles.
"This year’s program features a whole range of musical genres and international groups including: Checkpoint 303 - Palestine/ Tunisia/ France, Dima Dima –Tunisia and Zapp 4 –Netherlands. Furthermore, with the support of The Agha Khan Music Initiative the festival is bringing together five acclaimed musicians from Central Asia to perform in an evening concert entitled "The Invisible Face of the Beloved” followed by two colorful performances by the Tausi Women’s Taarab Orchestra from Zanzibar ". A concert of the Iranian/ British band AJAM, presented with support by the British Council Egypr, will conclude the festival on 14th of May."
Nairobi City Park to Be Rehabilitated by Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Government of Kenya
Prince Hussain Aga Khan, Prof Karega Mutahi, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime minister and Minister for Local Government, and Dr Jacob Ole Miaron PhD, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of State for Heritage and Culture, signing the MoU. Photo: AKDN/Aziz Islamshah
Nairobi, 16 April 2012 -- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed yesterday between the Government of Kenya, the Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture, the City Council of Nairobi and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture to collaborate in the rehabilitation and restoration of the Nairobi City Park to international standards in terms of architecture, landscape and horticulture.
Signatories included Prince Hussain Aga Khan on behalf of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Mr. Philip Kisia - Town Clerk, Nairobi City Council, Professor Karega Mutahi, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Local Government and Dr Jacob Ole Miaron, Permanent secretary, Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture.
Experts in city to draw up plans for conserving tombs
HYDERABAD: A conservation team from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) arrived in the city on Monday to begin a comprehensive study of the Qutub Shahi Tombs. The trust had last year come forward to take up restoration and conservation works to ensure that the tombs bag the coveted Unesco World Heritage Site tag.
Aghakhan Culture Trust to restore Uhuru park glory
Friday, 20 April 2012 21:53
By Wambua Sammy
The Citizen Correspondent
Nairobi. The Nairobi City Park will be restored to its former glory following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the government of Kenya and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
The transformation entails the rehabilitation of the park's gardens and lawns, protection of the forest and wildlife, upgrading of existing facilities and infrastructure, creation of new public buildings and ecological and educational programmes.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is one of the Agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) with mandates that encompass economic, social and economic work toward a common goal: to improve the overall quality of life.
The primary objective of the collaboration and the project is to rehabilitate and redevelop the recreational facility established in 1932 as a major metropolitan park, recognised internationally for excellence in restoration,environmental practices and financial sustainability.
Among many other partnerships, the trust has been involved in the creation of the Azhar Park in Cairo, financing the restoration of the Humayun's Tomb gardens in New Delhi, the creation of the National Park of Mali and the restoration of Zanzibar's Forodhani Park.
The Nairobi project will also create a prototype of urban park rehabilitation in Kenya and restore City Park such that it complements and enhances the existing environmentally important areas.
Signatories to the MoU that was signed in Nairobi on April16, 2012 include Prince Hussain Aga Khan on behalf of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Local Government Prof Karega Mutahi and Dr Jacob ole Miaron, Permanent Secretary Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture.
The rich biodiversity of the park is today threatened by a number of negative developments and worrisome trends which are taking their toll and may eventually endanger the very existence of the park.
Humayun's Tomb: Where the emperor on the run finally rests!!
Humayun, the second emperor of the Mughal dynasty, spent a major part of his life on the run....travelling and fighting for his territories for 20 years , which encompassed present day India, Pakistan and Afganistan.
But his finally resting place was Delhi and Humayun's Tomb is a wonderful ode by his son Akbar.
Today, Humayun's Tomb is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It lies in the heart of New Delhi and is a wonderful place to hang out on weekends or on holidays. It has been lovingly restored by the Aga Khan foundation and is a visual delight.
Priyanka Sharma & Veenu Sandhu / New Delhi Apr 22, 2012, 00:47 IST
Centuries’-old Indian craft and modern technology come together to restore Humayun’s Tomb to its past glory
It is a scorching April afternoon and the Humayun’s Tomb complex in Nizamuddin is bursting with life. Armed with their swank cameras, tourists from various countries attempt to capture every nook and corner of this World Heritage Site. Teachers lead groups of students across the structure, dictating lessons in history along the way. No one notices a group of labourers hard at work in various pockets of the complex.
On April 19, 2012, Mr. Ajmal Maiwandi, CEO of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Ambassador Rüdiger König signed an agreement for financial support of the restoration of the historic Khwaja Parsa shrine in Balkh.
The shrine, located in a park in the city centre of Balkh, was constructed in the late 15th century and marks the burial site of the islamic scholar Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa. The structure with its characteristic ribbed dome stands about 25 metres high and dates back to the late Timurid era. The shrine with its adjacent modern-era buildings is continuing to serve as a site for congregation. The project, funded by the Cultural Heritage Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office, aims in a first step at stabilizing the existing structure. In a second phase, the historic shrine will be restored and the modern-era concrete adjoing buildings replaced with ones constructed in a style in preserving the historic ensemble.
AKTC work cited as an example of "holistic" strategy that combines development and conservation.
Some, however, are pioneering a different approach. In Nizamuddin Basti, a poor Muslim neighbourhood in Delhi, specialists from the Agha Khan Development Network, an international private philanthropic NGO, have developed a "holistic" strategy that combines development and conservation.
To enhance skills amongst unemployed youth to meet with livelihood challenges and equip them with skills for sustainable livelihood options, an English Language Training Programme was undertaken for the young boys and girls of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. Under this programme, People from the Basti were trained to teach English.
Aga Khan Music Initiative and Smithsonian Folkways Release “Borderlands: Wu Man and Master Musicians from the Silk Route”
Final Release of "Music of Central Asia Series"
Washington, DC, 11 May 2012 -- On May 29, Smithsonian Folkways and the Aga Khan Music Initiative will celebrate the tenth and final release of their award-winning "Music of Central Asia" series, a groundbreaking CD/DVD set entitled "Borderlands: Wu Man and Master Musicians from the Silk Route".
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