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Ashiq

Yashar Hadi, a 12 year old lad, waiting for his solo performance in front of the 3rd Ashiqi Music Festival’s jury.

Ashiq, photo essay by Sajjad Ebrahimi


Ashiqs were artists who had been writing poetry, creating stories since a long time ago and somehow were their tribe’s people’s tongue.
Gopuz (Ashiqs musical instrument) was the inseparable Ashiqi particle in their poetry and stories.
Following all the description about Ashiqi music that I previously had in mind, when I found the Ashiqi masters confined at home, lonesome in the corners of cafés; my whole idea about this genre of music changed.

The masters’ constant complaints about the current situation foreshadowed the changes in the forms and contents of the Ashiqi art.

Gopuz solo performing in another instruments’ styles, Ashiqs unwillingness to wear their special outfits, the division between the singer and the musician, the young Ashiqs accompanying other artists in wedding ceremonies and singing the same old hymns of the famous Ashiqs, the fading aspect of storytelling in their songs and debate between the Ashiqs, the folklore music’s rising popularity amongst people; are some of the many factors that has made the Ashiqi masters go critical about the recession of the Ashiqi music.

Whereas the Ashiqi literature – with its poetry, stories and music – is one of the most defining pillars of Azerbaijan’s folklore literature.

(by Sajjad Ebrahimi)


Ashiq Rasoul Ghorbani, an Ashiqi music dean, received the ‘Daddah’ title after his Death. Daddah is the most highly rated title amongst Ashiqs.

Ashiq Yousef Ohaunse, one of the last survivors of Assyrian Ashiqs, is Christian. His instrument is 170 years old and is a remaining memorial from his father, Ashiq Ya’goub.

Ashiq Ohaunse considers the Ashiqi culture as a correct way of living. He reckons the Ashiqi art and his wife as the best benediction from God.

Ashiq Rostam Muhammadi is highly critical of the modern day Ashiqs’ behavior. He defines Ashiqi art as a nature-rooted art.

Mr. Ali Jahani, a Balaban (a kind of wind instrument) player, at the Ashiqlar Café. In the last few decades despite the Ashiqi tradition, Balaban and Gaval players perform along with Ashiqs in wedding ceremonies and celebrations.

Reza Hemmati, an Ashiqi music fan and Gopouz player.

Mr. Bahman Ghorbanzadeh, one of the skilled Ashiqi hymn singers, while performing at a wedding ceremony.

Harna Winter Quarter (an East-Azerbaijani winter quarter) at the horse riding piste borders.

Ashiqlar Café, Tabriz, Ashiq Ayat Ghanbari and one of his friends while performing.

Ashiq Vali Abdi doesn’t understand the modern day Ashiqs’ inappropriate behaviors; he believes that the modern day Ashiqs don’t understand the Ashiqi traditions.

The ‘Damir-Ashiq’ statue (Damir means Iron in Turkish) placed in The International Tabriz Exhibit’s yard.

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