In conjunction with the Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan, the event hosted at the Ismaili Centre represented one in a series of musical events to have taken place this year, each of which have celebrated the diversity of artistic expression, from various regions around the world.
Nobovar Chanorov is one of the most well-known and celebrated musicians of Tajikistan. He grew up in the village of Dehrushan in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, and started singing maddoh and playing music from a young age. Nobovar experimented with different instruments and singing styles, and eventually graduated as an actor.
Today, his music group the Shams Band are known for their fusion of ancient music and poetry of the East with contemporary music of the West. Through their compositions and performances, the group endeavour to preserve the ancient cultural and musical traditions of Tajikistan.
At a time when strengthening tolerance and embracing difference is a global priority, music can offer an exciting medium for reaching and involving various audiences from all corners of the globe.
At their performance on stage in the Ismaili Centre’s social hall, Nobovar and the Shams group weaved together the sounds of traditional musical instruments including the rubab, sethor, Indian tabla, Tajik tjavak and doira with modern instruments such as electric guitar, drum, and saxophone. Many of the songs performed were inspired by the prose of historical poets and philosophers of the Middle East and Central Asia, including Rumi, Hafiz, Rudaki, and Hilali.
Having performed at concerts in their home country as well as in Russia, Western Europe, the United States, Afghanistan, and India, the band have gained tremendous experience and inspiration for new songs and instrumental compositions.
Shams are particularly popular in Tajikistan, having been granted numerous awards and prizes for their creativity and innovative style. In 2002, the group travelled through Europe and the USA as part of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s Silk Road Ensemble tour alongside renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and other distinguished scholars, musicians, and artists from around the world.
More recently, the group performed in front of large audiences at the Jubilee Games held in Dubai in 2016, and at the Diamond Jubilee Celebration in Lisbon in 2018.