Help - Azerbaijani music info.
January 16, 2014 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Love a song, but would like to figure out whether it's the same early modern piece of music as a wikipedia article suggests.

So, I've spent all day in awe of this song that I stumbled across after buying a compilation of folk music:

I then googled what I thought was the song title, and came to this wikipedia article, that had me even more fascinated (Lermontov?!)

BUT all the versions of the song on the web seem to suggest that 'Ashig Garib' is the name/moniker of the artist (there's another piece of music on youtube w/ same guy, under the same moniker but a different title for the music) , not the song/dastan. I'm basically just trying to figure out - is the song in the video the same piece of music that the wiki article is talking about? If anyone could tell me what Orta Saritel means, that'd be great too - a cursory google suggests it's about the tuning of the instruments used.

The reason I'd like to know is just cuz the article makes the content of the song sound really sweet (a hero, love, wisdom, sainthood, what's not to love), and it'd be pretty great if that was the music Lermontov heard & (presumably) loved 200ish years ago.

If anyone likes the song, btw, it's from a compilation called Mountain Of Tongues.

(i'm also procrastinating from an essay)
posted by lethologues to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I found this blog post (by the people who posted the videos) which describes this singer and other ashigs in his town. It looks like Ashig Garib is indeed his name (written in Cyrillic letters as "АШЫГ ГӘРИБ" on his instrument).
posted by gubo at 3:28 PM on January 16, 2014

Gubo's article suggests that "ashiq" is not a name, but an ordinary noun describing someone who plays this kind of music. "In western terms the position this title denotes is the equivalent of a bard or a troubadour: someone who incorporates playing, singing, and poetry." This article has more on ashiqs in general.

If that's right, then Ashiq Qarib, translated there as "wandering ashiq," means something like "the wandering bard" or "the wandering troubadour."

So it looks like (a) Lermontov recorded a story called The Wandering Bard, and (b) there's a guy on YouTube performing under the stage name The Wandering Bard.
posted by this is a thing at 7:08 PM on January 16, 2014

Yeah, ashiq just means bard. And from a friend from Azerbaijan... Aşıq Qərib lived in 17th century. And in this case that doesn't mean a Wandering Ashig his actual name (or pseudonym) was Qarib, and Ashiq was his job title a "bard". The guy on the video took the title of the late Ashig Qarib as a pseudonym for himself, or his name is Qarib and he decided to become an Ashiq. "Orta Saritel" is just the name of this song, and has nothing to do with Ashiq Qerib that lived in 17th century and Lermontov.
Now hunting for more info on this video.
posted by k8t at 10:11 PM on January 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ah cheers guys! that's very helpful. So much for the wistful idea that that was the same great song Lermontov heard but oh well!
posted by lethologues at 2:57 AM on January 17, 2014

Basically Saz has 6 "kök"s (tunings). One of them is called Orta (middle) So this particular song is played on Orta kök. Sarıtel is a name given to a girl (Sarı - yellow, tel - hair), a blonde girl. This perpetuates the love of caucasian men towards blonde (slavic women). So Orta Saritel - is a song about a blonde woman that is played in the mid tuning. Also however, there is Orta Pərdə - Mid Fret. So Orta Saritel, is a composition about a blonde woman that is played wither on Orta Kök (Mid tuning) or Orta Pərdə (Mid fret of the scale).
posted by k8t at 7:03 AM on January 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

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