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1 Sep, 2007 01:57

Music festival marks Samarkand anniversary

Musicians from over 50 countries from around the world have gathered for a week-long music festival to mark the 2750th anniversary of the Uzbek city of Samarkand.

For centuries Samarkand has been the centre of major trading routes. It thrived as the capital of the medieval empire of the ruthless conqueror, Tamerlane, who brought the artisans from the towns he destroyed to create the beauty that millions enjoy there today.

Mongolians, Latvians, Afghanis, Italians, Koreans and Swedes play rock’n’roll, traditional folk, bossa nova and jazz.
Though 'Sharq Taronalari' festival translates as ‘The Rhythms of the East’, it is limited to orient rhythms no longer.
“We share so much with the people of Central Asia, our sensibility is similar and I think our music was accepted very well here,” commented Bulat Gafarov, a Russian artist.
The festival is sponsored by the Uzbek government, as it is intended to promote the country, both there and abroad.
“We are a young state and we want to show the world our culture and music, which has deep historical roots. For our people we want to promote national traditions,” explained Aida Ibragimova, the festival’s art director.
The best of the best will receive awards but most went there not for prizes. Taken over by the festival spirit, the artists have been gathering in a hotel lobby every night for a casual jamming session – just for the joy of it.