From UzbekistanCharismatic queen of Uzbek song
Opera's loss is world music's gain where Monajat Yulchieva is concerned. The dark, lyrical beauty and technical perfection of her voice - memorably described by a critic in her native Uzbekistan as "like a flying dove, turning over in the currents of warm spring air" - almost led her into a career as an operatic alto-soprano. Instead, she's become the leading performer of traditional Uzbek music with its strong connections with Persian and Arabic forms, in its rhythms, the use of Sufi poetry and the classical maqâm repertoire. Born in Tashkent at the turn of the '60s, Monajat has sung for most of her career to the accompaniment of Shavkat Mirzaev, a master of the long-necked rabâb lute, and his ensemble featuring such traditional instruments as the dutar and the tanbur (respectively two-stringed and three-stringed lutes), the gidjak (spike fiddle) and the ney (flute). With long pigtails trailing down to her waist and her striking Uzbek costumes, she's also a charismatic live performer and her rare performances several points west of Tashkent are occasions to savour.
Biog by Nigel Williamson