Kurash Sultan was recorded in the Washington Radio Free Asia studios on Wednesday January 4th 2006 performing Uyghur traditional music. Musician and poet Kurash Sultan was considered an ambassador for the Uyghurs through his music. Sadly, Kurash Sultan passed away at only forty-seven years of age on October 29th 2006. A famous Uyghur artist who sang and wrote countless songs and poems on the freedom of his homeland many of his songs which are still banned in Xinjiang.
Kurash Sultan was born in 1959 in the capital city Urumchi of Xinjiang. The son of a farmer, Kurash Sultan trained in Uyghur folk music at the Academy of Performing Arts in Urumqi. After graduating in 1988 Kurash Sultan spent the next five years touring the length and breadth of Xinjiang singing and playing the dutar.
The dutar is a traditional long-necked two-stringed lute found in Central Asia and South Asia. Its name comes from the Persian word for "two strings", dotar (do "two", tar "string"). When played, the strings are usually plucked.
In the 1980's Kurash Sultan worked as a music teacher, and studied music. In 1992-1995 Kurash Sultan worked an editor of Xinjiang Art, a magazine published by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region's Writers Union. In 1987 Kurash Sultan formed a music ensemble together and over the next five years they performed over 1,000 times for an audience of more than five million people around Xinjiang.
Kurash Sultan released several award winning albums including 'Hesret' (“Affliction"), 'Echinish' (“Sorrow"), 'Uyghur folk song', 'Tunes of Kuchar' and 'Wake Up Turkistan' (Songs for Freedom).
This complete TAM Session resulted in sixteen song tracks which are loaded in the Tam Player below for your preview:
Uyghur music embraces several distinct regional styles that reflect the complex historical background of the region that has mountains and deserts, and whose oasis kingdoms have been the site of clashes with many outside forces. The musical traditions of the southern oasis towns of Khotan and Kashgar are closely related to the classical Central Asian traditions of Bukhara and Samarkand. Each of the region's oasis towns has maintained its own characteristic sound and music repertoire. At the same time, they are interconnected by their common language and by their dominating culture, preserved by constant communication through the movement of peoples and trade.
Uyghur scholars trace the roots of their music back to the 11th century BC, to the Di people living to the north of China. Chinese sources contain frequent references to the early music of the region, termed as the 'Western Region' (xiyu). According to early records, a musician by the name of Sujup from the kingdom of Kösän (Qiuci) traveled to the court of Wudi (Chinese emperor in A.D. 567). It was Sujup who introduced the musical theory of seven modes and five tones to China.
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