Various Artists

Azerbaijan: Les Ashiq de Shirvan

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The Ashiqs of Shirvan refers to the musician bards of a certain province of Azerbaijan. The music is for small ensemble and voice. The ensemble consists of two sazes (long-necked lutes that sound a little like a banjo), two zurnas (reed instruments like oboes but that sound very much like kazoos), and drums. Generally, the instruments play an interesting tune for a time, after which the voice enters in a highly declamatory style. The singing is then punctuated by the instruments for the next several minutes.