Azerbaijan: A Timeless Presence (Live)

Date of release: 9 Sep, 2019

Album Cover

Tracklist + Liner Notes

  1. Gobustan

    The opening sounds of this dramatic new composition by Sami Yusuf carry the eternal message of wind and stones, with anchoring vocalization by Emin Mammadov. Shur mugham elements are then introduced through the astonishing voice of Kanan Bayramli. The sweeping melody conveys the majesty of place and the weight of time.

    Rising above the Caspian Sea, Gobustan’s boulders contain six thousand ancient stone carvings, messages left by our human ancestors over twenty thousand years ago. They speak to us not just of another time, but of another way of being.

    One remarkable feature of Gobustan are its stone drums, an ancient means of communicating across distance (like a Stone Age text message). The sound of these stone drums are incorporated into this extraordinary piece.

    CREDITS:

    Musical Director & Composer: Sami Yusuf
    Creative Producer & Director: Andrei Boltenko

    Copyright of Andante Records

    Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
    Video editing and post-production by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios

    Lighting Designer: Yury Krasilnikov
    Set Designer: Denis Lishchenko
    Video content designer: Alexander Yaichnikov
    Video content production: Raketa Media

    Tv Director: Alex Boltenko
    Director of photography: Andrei Kvardakov

    Executive Producers: Sergey Gromov, Elruz Fatiyev

    Event production: Peachline Advertising

    Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

  2. Ateshgah

    The vocal and instrumental drones of this meditative piece in Shustar mugham resonate with echoes of Indian rags and Middle East maqams. Featuring the vibrant voice of Sami Yusuf, its aim is to immerse the listener’s spirit in contemplation.

    Ateshgah, The Fire Temple, is an 18th century structure in Baku that speaks of the land’s Zoroastrian past.

    CREDITS:

    Musical Director & Composer: Sami Yusuf
    Creative Producer & Director: Andrei Boltenko

    Copyright of Andante Records

    Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
    Video editing and post-production by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios

    Lighting Designer: Yury Krasilnikov
    Set Designer: Denis Lishchenko
    Video content designer: Alexander Yaichnikov
    Video content production: Raketa Media

    Tv Director: Alex Boltenko
    Director of photography: Andrei Kvardakov

    Executive Producers: Sergey Gromov, Elruz Fatiyev

    Event production: Peachline Advertising

    Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

  3. Nasimi

    The lyrics of this song come from the poetry of the 14th century mystical poet Nasimi, who was one of the first literary figures to compose in Azerbaijani. The composer sets an ecstatic mood in this new piece in Shur mugham that evokes Sufi ceremonies through high-energy percussion and dazzling avaz sections. The musical narrative is majestic, powerful, and intensely beautiful.

    CREDITS

    Musical Director & Composer: Sami Yusuf
    Creative Producer & Director: Andrei Boltenko

    Poem by ‘Alī ‘Imādu d-Dīn Nasīmī’ (“Nasimi”)
    English translation: Dr. Mohammad H. Faghfoory

    Copyright of Andante Records

    Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
    Video editing and post-production by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios

    Lighting Designer: Yury Krasilnikov
    Set Designer: Denis Lishchenko
    Video content designer: Alexander Yaichnikov
    Video content production: Raketa Media

    Tv Director: Alex Boltenko
    Director of photography: Andrei Kvardakov

    Executive Producers: Sergey Gromov, Elruz Fatiyev

    Event production: Peachline Advertising

    Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

     

    LYRICS & TRANSLATION

    Məndə sığar iki cahan, mən bu cahana sığmazam,
    The two worlds are contained in Me
    But I will not be contained in these worlds
    I cannot be contained in being or in the engendered world

    Gövhəri-laməkan mənəm, kövnü məkana sığmazam
    I am the Treasure* of no abode,
    But I will not be contained in these worlds

    Tir mənəm, kaman mənəm, pir mənəm, cavan mənəm
    I am the arrow, I am the bow, I am the old, I am the young

    Məndə sığar iki cahan, mən bu cahana sığmazam,
    The two worlds are contained in Me
    But I will not be contained in these worlds

    Gövhəri-laməkan mənəm, kövnü məkana sığmazam.
    I am the Treasure of no abode,
    But I will not be contained in these worlds

    Zərrə mənəm, günəş mənəm, çar ilə pəncü şeş mənəm,
    I am the particles, I am the Sun
    I am the Four**, and I am Five and the Six more***

    Surəti gör bəyan ilə, çünki bəyana sığmazam.
    See [the universe as] My face and describe it,
    as I will not be contained in your description

    Məndə sığar iki cahan, mən bu cahana sığmazam,
    The two worlds are contained in Me
    But I will not be contained in these worlds

    Gövhəri-laməkan mənəm, kövnü məkana sığmazam
    I am the Treasure of no abode,
    I will not be contained in being or in the engendered world

    Nara yanan şəcər mənəm, çərxə çıxan həcər mənəm
    I am the burning bush, I am the rock that ascended to Heaven

    Məndə sığar iki cahan, mən bu cahana sığmazam,
    The two worlds are contained in Me,
    But I will not be contained in these worlds

    Gövhəri-laməkan mənəm, kövnü məkana sığmazam.
    I am the Treasure of no abode,
    I will not be contained in being or in the engendered world

    Zərrə mənəm, günəş mənəm, çar ilə pəncü şeş mənəm,
    I am the particles, I am the Sun,
    I am the Four, and I am Five and the Six more

    Surəti gör bəyan ilə, çünki bəyana sığmazam.
    See [the universe as] My face and describe it,
    as I will not be contained in your description

    Məndə sığar iki cahan, mən bu cahana sığmazam,
    The two worlds are contained in Me,
    But I will not be contained in these worlds

    Gövhəri-laməkan mənəm, kövnü məkana sığmazam
    I am the Treasure of no abode,
    I will not be contained in being or in the engendered world

    Ərşlə fərşü kafü nun məndə bulundu cümlə çün,
    In short, [the carpet of] Divine Command (kun) in the Universe found manifestation in Me so that

    Sən bu nişanla bil məni, bil ki, nişana sığmazam.
    you would know Me by these signs,
    but beware! I cannot be contained in signs.

    Tir mənəm, kaman mənəm, pir mənəm, cavan mənəm,
    I am the arrow, I am the bow, I am the old, I am the young

    Dövləti-cavidan mənəm, ayinədana sığmazam.
    I am the Treasure of no abode,
    I will not be contained in being or in the engendered world

    Gərçi bu gün Nəsimiyəm, haşimiyəm, qureyşiyəm
    Even though today I may be a Nasimi, a Hashimi, a Qurayshi****

    Tir mənəm, kaman mənəm, pir mənəm, cavan mənəm,
    I am the arrow, I am the bow, I am the old, I am the young

    Dövləti-cavidan mənəm,
    I am the Eternal Treasure

    Gərçi bu gün Nəsimiyəm, haşimiyəm, qureyşiyəm,
    Even though today I may be a Nasimi, a Hashimi, a Qurayshi

    Məndən uludur ayətim, ayətə, şana sığmazam
    From Me the signs of My power find existence,
    But I will not be contained in My sign of power

    sığmazam, sığmazam, sığmazam, sığmazam
    I cannot be contained, I cannot be contained,
    I will not be contained,
    I cannot be contained

    Tir mənəm, kaman mənəm, pir mənəm, cavan mənəm,
    I am the arrow, I am the bow, I am the old, I am the young

    Dövləti-cavidan mənəm, ayinədana sığmazam.
    I am the Eternal Treasure,
    But I will not be contained in a jewelry box

    sığmazam, sığmazam, sığmazam, sığmazam
    I cannot be contained, I cannot be contained,
    I will not be contained,
    I cannot be contained

    Kövni-məkandır ayətim, zatidürür bidayətim,
    Being and existence are the signs of My power,
    My Eternity is in My Essence

    Sən bu nişanla bil məni, bil ki, nişana sığmazam.
    Know Me by this sign, but beware! I will not be contained in signs.

    sığmazam, sığmazam, sığmazam
    I cannot be contained, I cannot be contained,
    I will not be contained,

    Məndə sığar iki cahan, mən bu cahana sığmazam
    The two worlds are contained in Me,
    But I will not be contained in these worlds

    Gövhəri-laməkan mənəm, kövnü məkana sığmazam.
    I am the Treasure of no abode,s
    I will not be contained in being or in the engendered world

    Zərrə mənəm, günəş mənəm, çar ilə pəncü şeş mənəm,
    I am the particles, I am the Sun,
    I am the Four, and I am Five and the Six more

    Surəti gör bəyan ilə, çünki bəyana sığmazam.
    See [the world as] My face and describe it,
    as I will not be contained in your description

    Məndə sığar iki cahan, mən bu cahana sığmazam
    The two worlds are contained in Me,
    But I will not be contained in these worlds

    Gənci-nihan mənəm mən uş,
    I am the Hidden Treasure, o My servant,

    Eyni-əyan mənəm, mən uş,
    I am the manifest, I am, My servant

    Gövhəri-kan mənəm, mən uş,
    I am the treasure mine, o My servant

    Bəhrəvü kana sığmazam.
    But I cannot be contained in the oceans and mines.

    Tir mənəm, kaman mənəm, pir mənəm, cavan mənəm,
    I am the arrow, I am the bow, I am the old, I am the young

    Dövləti-cavidan mənəm, ayinədana sığmazam.
    I am the Treasure of no abode,
    I will not be contained in being or in the engendered world

    Gərçi bu gün Nəsimiyəm, haşimiyəm, qureyşiyəm,
    Even though today I may be a Nasimi, a Hashimi, a Qurayshi

    Məndən uludur ayətim, ayətə, şana sığmazam
    From Me the signs of My power find existence,
    But I will not be contained in My sign of power

    sığmazam, sığmazam, sığmazam, sığmazam
    I cannot be contained, I cannot be contained,
    I will not be contained,
    I cannot be contained

    Həm sədəfəm, həm inciyəm, həşrü sirat əsinciyəm,
    I am the shell, I am the kernel,
    I am the upholder of the Doomsday and Suspender of the Bridge*****

    Bunca qumaşü rəxt ilə mən bu dükana sığmazam.
    So you make a robe out of this cloth for such a day,
    For I will not be contained in your store,

    Şəhd ilə həm şəkər mənəm, şəms mənəm, qəmər mənəm,
    I am the sugar, I am the honey, I am the Sun, I am the Moon,

    Ruhi-rəvan bağışlaram, ruhi-rəvana sığmazam.
    I bestow spirit to all things, But I will not be contained in spirit

    Məndə sığar iki cahan, mən bu cahana sığmazam,
    The two worlds are contained in Me,
    But I will not be contained in these worlds

    Gövhəri-laməkan mənəm, kövnü məkana sığmazam
    I am the Treasure of no abode,
    I cannot be contained in being or in the engendered world

    Mən bu cahana sığmazam
    I will not be contained in these worlds


    *An allusion to the saying of the Prophet (a hadith qudsi wherein God speaks through the Prophet): ‘I was a Hidden Treasure and I longed to be known. So I created the creatures and they came to know Me.’
    **An allusion to the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs
    ***An allusion to the Five Ahl al-Kisa (People of the Cloak: the Prophet, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Hossein) and to other revered figures
    **** Names of tribes/families
    *****An allusion to the bridge (al-sirat) that human beings must cross after death to enter Paradise.


    More information:

    Imadeddin Nasimi (1369-1417), an Azerbaijani poet, philosopher and sage, was the author of the first Divans (collections of poetry) in the Azerbaijani language. Considered as one of the greatest mystical Turkic poets of his time, he also composed poems in Persian and Arabic. Although few details are known about his life, his passionate poetry shows his deep knowledge of Islamic poetic traditions as well as a genius for composition, and it shows a depth of knowledge of Islamic, particularly Sufi, intellectual teachings that indicates that he must have had training in these fields. His gift as a poet was instrumental in conveying Hurufi Sufi philosophy to the Turkish-speaking population of Anatolia, a philosophical perspective that is still echoed in the certain Sufi orders today.

    The poem in the composition, ‘Nasimi’, has elements of a tradition of ecstatic sayings that emerge from a deep inner state of knowing, an overpowering spiritual state that is often fleeting. Ecstatic sayings such as those of Mansur al-Hallaj, Bayazid Bastami, Nasimi, and others, need to be interpreted in the context of the mystical vocabulary of their times. And it is necessary to understand the religious forces, the social and political life, and the whole culture of the Islamic world within which these figures lived and died. Without a profound understanding of this context certain of their words, which on the surface can resemble infidelity, are easily misconstrued.

    In this poem, Nasimi returns repeatedly to the contrast between the ‘two worlds’, the physical and spiritual. By naming opposites—‘I am the old, I am the young’— he points beyond them to unity, to tawhid, to the divine unity that is one of his principle themes. For Nasimi, the signs of God (ayat Allah) are found throughout creation, but they are not limited by this realm alone.

  4. A Dancing Heart

    This is an original instrumental composition in Bayāt-e Shīrāz mugham whose joyous melody is carried from the balaban and kemanche solos to the layered sounds of the orchestra. This piece celebrates the art of movement, an art that tells many stories and reveals the inner world of a culture.

    CREDITS:

    Musical Director & Composer: Sami Yusuf
    Creative Producer & Director: Andrei Boltenko

    Copyright of Andante Records

    Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
    Video editing and post-production by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios

    Lighting Designer: Yury Krasilnikov
    Set Designer: Denis Lishchenko
    Video content designer: Alexander Yaichnikov
    Video content production: Raketa Media

    Tv Director: Alex Boltenko
    Director of photography: Andrei Kvardakov

    Executive Producers: Sergey Gromov, Elruz Fatiyev

    Event production: Peachline Advertising

    Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

  5. The Garden (feat. Sevda Alekperzadeh)

    ‘The Garden’ is Sami Yusuf’s moving English rendition of the beautiful Azerbaijani folk song ‘Girdim yarın bağçasına’. He is joined by the renowned singer Sevda Alekperzade who sings the Azerbaijani lyrics. The result is a gorgeous interweaving of their voices that underscores the message of this deeply moving and lyrical song of love and longing.

    CREDITS

    Words & Music: Azerbaijani Folk Music
    Mugham: Shushtar

    Musical Director & Composer: Sami Yusuf
    Creative Producer & Director: Andrei Boltenko

    English Words: Erkin Love & Will Knox

    Copyright of Andante Records

    Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
    Video editing and post-production by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios

    Lighting Designer: Yury Krasilnikov
    Set Designer: Denis Lishchenko
    Video content designer: Alexander Yaichnikov
    Video content production: Raketa Media

    Tv Director: Alex Boltenko
    Director of photography: Andrei Kvardakov

    Executive Producers: Sergey Gromov, Elruz Fatiyev

    Event production: Peachline Advertising

    Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

     

    LYRICS

    Nightshade blooming in my garden
    Love I found on my way
    Taking root when all was darkened
    Scarred in me always

    Shine, shine, shine on my dark nights
    Shine a light on me
    I’ve been wandering all my life and
    Now I see the land

    In my mornings, waves have taken
    What I thought was there
    I left you in time forsaken
    (With) flowers in your hair

    Shine, shine, shine on my dark nights
    Shine a light on me
    I’ve been wandering all my life and
    Now I see the land

     

    AZERI SECTION:

    Girdim eşqin dəryasına, gəmim dolmadı,
    Gənc yaşımda səni sevdim, mənim olmadın yar,
    Gənc yaşımda səni sevdim, mənim olmadın.

    Gəl, gəl, gəl, gözəlim, gəl,
    Sevirəm səni.

    Gəl, gəl, gəl, gözəlim, gəl,
    Sevirəm səni.

    Əgər qismətim olarsan,
    Alaram səni.

    Əgər qismətim olarsan,
    Olaram sənin ah yar yar

    Əgər qismətim olarsan,
    Olaram sənin ah yar yar

    Əgər qismətim olarsan,
    Olaram sənin

  6. Shirvanshah's Palace

    ‘Shirvanshah’s Palace’, a new instrumental work from Sami Yusuf, features a 57-member orchestra and dazzling solos on oud, kamanche, tar and balaban. The musical narrative is majestic, powerful and intensely beautiful. This piece is performed in Shur mugham [Əbu Əta], evoking an ecstatic mood that echoes the Sufi ceremony of remembrance. Although the sub-mode Əbu Əta (Abū ’Atā) is seldom used in recent decades, it has been part of the Azerbaijani mugham system for centuries. The composer has chosen to honor this particular traditional expression here, and in doing so seeks to contribute to the revival of this complex musical language.

    Shirvanshah’s Palace is a 15th century complex in Baku where the revered philosopher and sage, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi, taught and prayed and where his tomb is located.

    CREDITS:

    Musical Director & Composer: Sami Yusuf
    Creative Producer & Director: Andrei Boltenko

    Copyright of Andante Records

    Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
    Video editing and post-production by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios

    Lighting Designer: Yury Krasilnikov
    Set Designer: Denis Lishchenko
    Video content designer: Alexander Yaichnikov
    Video content production: Raketa Media

    Tv Director: Alex Boltenko
    Director of photography: Andrei Kvardakov

    Executive Producers: Sergey Gromov, Elruz Fatiyev

    Event production: Peachline Advertising

    Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

  7. Novruz

    This new arrangement of a much-loved Novruz song in Chargah mugham is inspired by traditional Azerbaijani music. The festive sounds of percussion and zurna reflect the joyous spirit of the day.

    Novruz — the day of the vernal equinox — is the jubilant holiday that celebrates rebirth, renewal, fertility, and the return of spring.

    CREDITS:

    Words & Music: Azerbaijani Folk Music
    Musical Director & Composer: Sami Yusuf
    Creative Producer & Director: Andrei Boltenko

    Copyright of Andante Records

    Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
    Video editing and post-production by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios

    Lighting Designer: Yury Krasilnikov
    Set Designer: Denis Lishchenko
    Video content designer: Alexander Yaichnikov
    Video content production: Raketa Media

    Tv Director: Alex Boltenko
    Director of photography: Andrei Kvardakov

    Executive Producers: Sergey Gromov, Elruz Fatiyev

    Event production: Peachline Advertising

    Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

  8. Shaki Khan Palace (feat. Tayyar Bayramov, Kanan Bayramli & Samira Aliyeva)

    This new piece features tar, balaban, and vocalists. The effect is profoundly evocative; the music speaks directly to the heart. In Segah mugham, the lyrics are from a poem that speaks with deep longing of the universal love of one’s homeland.

    The Shaki Khan Palace in Sheki, Azerbaijan, is a place of unique architectural and decorative beauty.

    CREDITS:

    Music: Mugham Improvisation
    Musical Director & Composer: Sami Yusuf
    Creative Producer & Director: Andrei Boltenko

    Copyright of Andante Records

    Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
    Video editing and post-production by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios

    Lighting Designer: Yury Krasilnikov
    Set Designer: Denis Lishchenko
    Video content designer: Alexander Yaichnikov
    Video content production: Raketa Media

    Tv Director: Alex Boltenko
    Director of photography: Andrei Kvardakov

    Executive Producers: Sergey Gromov, Elruz Fatiyev

    Event production: Peachline Advertising

    Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

  9. Azerbaijan

    This powerful new composition begins with the haunting and resonant vocalizations of Sami Yusuf, then adds instrumental, rhythmic, and vocal layers to create an epic unison section that evokes the many-faceted aspects of the arc of Azerbaijan’s history. This piece features stunning vocal solos by Sevda Alekperzadeh, Tayyar Bayramov, Samira Aliyeva, and a beautiful tar solo by Sahib Pashazade that leads into the majestic outro.

    Written in Bayāt-e Shīrāz mugham, its sweeping melody is inspired by the story of this region from its earliest times to its hopes for the future.

    CREDITS:

    Musical Director & Composer: Sami Yusuf
    Creative Producer & Director: Andrei Boltenko
    Words: Aytan Ismikhanova

    Copyright of Andante Records

    Mixed & Mastered by Vishnu Rajan @ Andante Studios
    Video editing and post-production by Omar Al-Balushi @ Andante Studios

    Lighting Designer: Yury Krasilnikov
    Set Designer: Denis Lishchenko
    Video content designer: Alexander Yaichnikov
    Video content production: Raketa Media

    Tv Director: Alex Boltenko
    Director of photography: Andrei Kvardakov

    Executive Producers: Sergey Gromov, Elruz Fatiyev

    Event production: Peachline Advertising

    Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Album Description

Azerbaijan: A Timeless Presence is a breathtaking musical odyssey through a rich artistic and cultural heritage. The music was composed, arranged, and directed by Sami Yusuf for the Opening Ceremony of the 43rd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Baku on June 30, 2019. The performance was directed by the renowned creative director Andrei Boltenko.

This newly created cultural treasure comprises nine themes; each theme expresses an aspect of the ethos of Azerbaijan from the land’s earliest inhabitants some twenty thousand years ago to its contemporary realities and aspirations.

With fifty-seven highly skilled musicians under his direction, Sami Yusuf displays his mastery of a complex musical language while staying true to the traditional sounds of the region. The instruments used (except the piano) are traditional instruments from the region including the tar, an instrument so significant that it is said to have taken a role in shaping the cultural identity of Azerbaijanis; the kamancha, the stringed instrument related to the Byzantine lyra and European violin family; and the balaban, a double-reed ancient wind instrument with a plaintive, solemn sound.

Azerbaijan: A Timeless Presence mesmerises with its dazzling musical range from the subtle to the powerful and from the evocative to the majestic. It is the soundscape of a region that displays an underlying universality. These inspired compositions by this renowned musician evoke powerful emotional responses in listeners no matter their cultural origin.

• Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

SOLOISTS

PERFORMERS

View MoreRead Less

Videos

Album Samples



Share