Tajikistan cellist gives recital at Escola de Musica
Marjona Khasanova, cellist from the Asian country Tajikistan, arrives in Brasília to perform a series of classical music performances
By Pedro Almeida
posted on 08/19/2022 18:18
Marjona Khasanova, cellist from Tajikistan, arrives in Brasília for a series of performances until September 3rd. This Friday (19/8), from 19:30, in the Auditorium of the School of Music of Brasília, the first performance will take place. The artist spoke with Correio about the life and culture of the Asian country and the fact of being the first Tajik musician in history to perform in the Brazilian capital.
In the center of Central Asia, immersed in mountain ranges and mountainous reliefs, is the Republic of Tajikistan. Marked in history as a silk road and by its integration into the former Soviet Union, the young nation became independent in 1991, on the occasion of the dissolution of the socialist state. A year later, a civil war broke out in the country and lasted until 1997. In the troubled history of a resilient nation, there was room for art and music to flourish. Among the emerging talents there, the Tajik musician Marjona Khasanova, whose age matches that of the country, uses her imposing cello to show the world the rich cultural value of a region of the globe overshadowed by unfounded stigmas.
In December 2018, American pianist Jennifer Heemstra, now residing in Brasília, went to Dushanbé, capital of Tajikistan, to perform at an event organized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Cast to complement the piano arrangements was the young Marjona Khasanova. The event brought together musicians and young people to shed light on the issues of domestic violence and human rights violations around the globe. “Marjona and I present a movement from The Offering , a piano quintet work written by Elena Kats-Chernin. We connected musically, but we also shared many interests. We continue to present recitals as a duo in Tajikistan”, says Jennifer, in an interview with Correio. The friendship between the two resulted in an invitation to visit Brazil, the pianist's new home. “I am very happy to be able to introduce Brazil to her and, hopefully, start a lasting musical exchange between Brazil and Central Asia”, he adds.
The meeting could not take place without music. Both have programmed a schedule of presentations that begins this Friday (19/8), in the Auditorium of the School of Music; passes by the University of Brasília on August 24th; the following day, he performs with Instituto Reciclando Sons, at Casa Thomas Jefferson; on August 31, the musician takes positivity to Sarah Kubitscheck Hospital; finally, to close the circuit, Marjona performs at the Iate Clube de Brasília.
Majorna spoke, in an interview with the Correio, on the life of a Tajik in the present day: “A Tajik citizen lives well in 2022. Every year, our republic progresses. Unfortunately, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we had a civil war and that affected our development. Now, everything has been restored and the country does everything for the people to live well”. The cellist also told about the life of a musician, especially a woman, in the country. “Women musicians are very active and successful in the Tajikistan music industry. There are many women and girls in the country's orchestras. In the orchestra in which I play, the symphony of Teatro Ópera Ballet S. Aini, named in honor of a woman, women occupy 40% of the seats. Musicians there are very active: they play in orchestras, teach music in schools and are open to performing, as are male musicians”, he guarantees. Majorna expands the range and talks about the Tajik woman as a whole, “We are now in the 21st century in Tajikistan. Women are successful not only in music, but also in business, science, politics, and hold prestigious positions in government,” she says.
Even though Majorna is dedicated to classical music, which is not different from the popular music in Brazil and in the western world, there is the traditional music of Tajikistan, which has a strong connection with ancestry. “Tajiks are proud of the rich ancestral music called shashmaqom. In short, this genre consists of six 'magoms', or melodies: Burzuk, Rost, Navo, Dugokh, Segokh, and Irok. Each of these magoms includes two parts: an instrumental, mushkilot, and a sung, nasr. Shashmaqom uses Tajik instruments such as the doira, tanbur, sato and Tajik rubab.” Becoming a shashmaqom musician, however, takes dedication: “Training takes at least 15 years”. The instrumentalist explains that music is very important to the people. “The life of the Tajiks was and continues to be very much linked to music. In all seasons, there are great local traditional music festivals around the country. In the south, there is a special folk-based genre called falak. This song is often played at weddings and other important ceremonies. We are very protective of our traditional music. It is very important to us,” he says.
The parallel between Tajikistan and Brazil is not based solely on differences; there are similarities, which Marjona was able to detect with the short time she had explored Brazilian lands. “Hospitality is very similar. There are receptive people in Brazil and Tajikistan. Both countries are very sunny and warm. In both, people love to go to concerts, events and celebrations; they like to have fun and enjoy life.” Majorna then takes the time to praise what he has seen here: “I love Brazil. Everyone is positive and carries a smile on their face. The natural beauty is breathtaking. Brasília is an incredible city with green parks and fantastic buildings.” Finally, the artist reveals the unusual Brazilian part that she carried with her in Tajikistan: “On my visit to Rio de Janeiro, I fulfilled my old dream of seeing the mountains meet the sea in that unique city. I saw Rio for the first time on TV as a backdrop to my favorite show when I was a child: the soap opera O Clone”.
Finally, Marjona reveals that she believes that her coming to Brazil is something new for both parties. “I believe that I am the first Tajik musician to play in Brazil. Tajikistan became independent in 1991, shortly after my birth. No musician has traveled to Brazil, as it is very far from us. It was a 28-hour trip.” The distance is justified by the pleasure of performing: “I am very happy to have the opportunity to play here and meet Brazilian musicians”.