The musical traditions of Turkmenistan are combined with non-eastern music influences by Ashkhabad. With its mixture of such Middle Eastern instruments as serp, nagara, taragat and dutar and western classical instruments including violin, viola and cello, the group creates a sound that recalls the cinematic music of Egypt and India.
Centered around accordion player Kurban Kurbanov and vocalist Atabai Tsharykuliev, Ashkhabad takes their name from their site of origin, the capital city of Turkmenistan, located in the desert plains of western Turkistan near the foothills of the Elburz Mountains.
Ashkhabad's debut album, "City Of Love", released in 1993, united Turkmenistan musicians including Khekberdy Allamuradov (serp, dep and nagara), Sabir Rizaer (clarinet, percussion, soprano sax, serp and nagara), Gassan Mamedov (violin) and Bernd von Ostrowski (bass, acoustic bass) and London-based musicians including David DeFries (fluegelhorn), Caroline LaVello (cello), Jacelyn Pook (viola) and Sonia Slang (violin). Liner notes for the album were written by Peter Gabriel.