Turkmen Pop Music Homepage





Listen to

























(Traditional) Text by Makhtumkuli),. Arranged by A Tsharykuliev

Written by Makhtumkuli. Composed & arranged by A Tsharykuliev

3. BAYATY (Instrumental)
Composed by E Mansurov. Arranged by G Manmedov and Rizaev

(Traditional) Arranged by Askhabad

5. SHALAKHO (Instrumental)
(Traditional) Arranged by G Mamedov

Written, composed and arranged by A Tsharykuliev

(Traditional) Arranged by Askhabad

8. AISHA (Instrumental)
 Composed & arranged by G Mamedov
Written by N Bairamov. Composed by 0 Tekayev. Arranged by A Tsharykuliev

(Traditional Text) Composed by N Khalmamedov. Arranged by Tsharykuliev and Rizae

11. GARAGUM KESHDELERI (Instrumental)
Composed & arranged by K Allamuradov


Atabai Tsharykuliev  vocal, tar;
Ghassan  Mamedov Violin;
Sabir Rizaev Clarinet, soprano sax,  serp, nagara;
Kurban Kurbanov Accordion, piano;
Khakberdy Allamoradov dep. serp, nagara

(Guest Musicians)

Elektra Strings - Sonia Slany violin;
Jocelyn Pook viola 
Caroline Lavelle cello on Ketshpelek , Part I and Bayaty
David Defries flugelhorn ott Ketshpelek , Part II
Brend von Ostrowski acoustic bass on Bayaty


AYRYLSA (Separation)

"l'm far from home , travelling the world. Every country has its own beauty but my heart longs for the black stones and sweet people of turkmenistan."

AGLAR MEN (l'm Crying)

I'm crying because of my people's troubled fate, because our land is parched and nothing grows anymore. I cry and wonder how I can transform my country into a flowering, blossoming place."

BAYATY (Instrumental)

Composed by Eldar Mansurov, Arranged by Ghassan and Sabir with accompaniment from acousstic bass player Bernd von Ostrowski and Electra Strings.


"I love you my child and always see you by my side, even though you' re not there, I yearn for you."

SHALAKHO (Instrumental)

A breathtaking traditional ratio with a 32 bar drum solo.


I once loved a girl with wonderful hair, teeth like pearls and beautiful eyes. I met her years later; her beauty had gone, her face was lined with sorrow."

"I dream that l'm always with my beautiful Bibi. I'll never get enough of her kisses, I'm going to take pen and paper and write a novel about her."

AISHA (Instrumental)

Aisha features the soulful violin playing of Ghassan.

KAKAN GYZ (Dancing Girl)

"She stepped into the forest glade -I've never seen anything so beautitful and her 
nightingale voice drove me out of my mind. With my poetry, I celebrate your beauty in song, dancing girl."

KETSHPELEK (Bitter fate)
The strory of a musician who can't marry Maral, the girl he loves, because her parents  have decided to marry a rich man. The musician is invited to play at the wedding and he elopes with his loved one. Her family runs them and kills the girl. Maral's lover sits beside her body and sings this song..

A solo piece featuring Khakberdy on congas and traditional Turkmenian drums. The piece is named after the kara kum Desert, but some of the rhythms have travelled great distances from other parts of the world.

Ashkhahad is the capital of Turkmenistan and its cultural heart. The city's finest musicians have come together and called themselves ASHKHABAD, a word which drives from the Persian language and means CITY OF LOVE..

The Orient has always been a cultural melting pot and so is the music of ASHKHABAD. Atabai, Gassan, Sabir, Kurban and Khakberdy play an exciting mixture of traditional turkmenistan music infused with elements from Persia, Azerbeijan and Turkey. They have been influenced by everything they've everheard: from the sounds of the desert to jazz and rock.

When John Leckie - best known as producer of guitar rock bands - first  heard ASHKHABAD, he was struck by their musical mastery and by the heartfelt beauty of their music. He know instantly he had to go into a studio with them.

The result is a completly acoustic recording - truly  unplugged. It captures the intensity of feeling and the romanticism of ASHKHABAT music.


(vocal, tar, dutar), burn in Ashkhabad 1958

At a child Atabai took care of his father's sheep. With this solitary existence he had lots of time to pick up various instruments, but singing inspired him above all. A few years later he discovered that he had a love for hard rock, as well as traditional music: "Hard rock singers scream just  like our Turkmenian singers.

His apprenticeship began when he started playing at weddings and he later joined Turkmenistan's national philharmonic orchestra. This was less fun and paid less money so he went back to the kolkhoz (collective farm) and traditianal music. Secretly he would tape his favourite wedding singers with a mike hidden up his sleev.

As the end of the Seventies the state launched a campaign against traditional wedding music; it was considered "too Islamic and too religious". Atabai was banned from working. The media were no longer allowed to cover his activities and those who tried to help him were fired. Many established musicians were afraid to play with him. At the peak of this campaign Atabai was locked in a mental institution for six weeks.
Since 1985 Atabai has been allowed officially to work again. Today he is the most proficient singer in Turkmenistan; for him it's a joy to serve as guardian of the Turkmenistan cultural tradition.


(violin), born in Ashkhabad 1956

Ghassan's father was a farm hand who loved music. When Ghassan was six his father 
asked him what inastrument he would like to learn. There was some classical music on the TV as that moment and Ghassan pointed to the one of the violinists on the screen. His father bought him a violin  and threatened to throw him out of the house if he didn't practise. The young Ghassan was only interested in football, but he was scared of his father....

At the age of nineteen he began playing accordion at weddings. For him the violin was reserved for European classical music but his love for the instrument eventually won, and four years later he sold his accordion. Today he plays everything from classical music to folk, jazz, rock and pop. His idols are Jasha Heifetz and Jean-Luc Ponty.

Ghassan, who is of Azerbeidjani descent brings Azerbeidjani, Turkish and Persian influences to the music of Ashkhabad.


(clarinet, soprano sax, percussion), born in May 1958

Sabir's father, a theacher, is an amateur tar player and helped his son to develop his own  musical talents. At a very early age Sabir learnt to play the piano and went on to study percussion,  clarinet and saxsophone. He played in the opera orchestra, for the radio big band and organised  jazz-festivals and concerts in Ashkhabad. In the seventies he was a popular player with a number of jazz-rock groups.

Today he is Head of the Department of Popular Music at Ashkhabad University and works as a composer. Sometimes he joins his friends and plays at the weddings.

Sabir has written the music for a number of films and is preparing the first publication of his chamber music compositions which are strongly influenced by oriental music.
He names Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Ravel, Charlie Parker and Michael Brecker among his greatest influences but for him Turkmenisan music is the source of his inspiration.


(dep, sarp, nagara), born in Kirov, 1958

Khakberdy's  father worked in the cotton industry , his elder brother played tar and accordion. At kindergarten he wasn't content just to sing along with the other children: he had seen men playing the dep (a druw similar to the tambourine) on TV and at wedding  and he knew already  what he wanted to do in life.

As a boy, Khakberdy played along with Persian melodies on the radio and when he was thirteen he started to play drums at weddings,  learning  the traditional Turkmenian repertoire. He  went on to study percussion at university and played with many local groups.

The virtuosity, energy and creativity of his playing are extraordinary. Khakberdy works in many different musical  spheres. At the moment he is studying Indian and Latin - American percussion and rhythms and he would like to link up with drummers from all over the world.


(accordion, piano). born in Ashkhabad 1961

Kurban comes from an academic background; his parents didn't want their son to go into folk  music. He had to go to  weddings in secret to listen to the best traditional accordion players.

Today Kurban doesn't enjoy  weddings  very much because the musicians are often treated badly: "If we go to a wedding we feel like soldiers going to the front." He does think, however, that  weddings are vital to his fitness; after a weekend of playing accordion for twenty hours or more your fingers certainly movemore easily ......

With the release of their first album as a group. Kurban it happy that many people
will have she chance to hear Turkmenian for the first time.

Founded And Designed By:
Dr. Farzad MARJANI, Civil Engineer, Ph.D.
Ankara - TURKEY

TEL      : +90 - 312 280 82 16
FAX     : +90 - 312 280 67 20
EMAIL : farzad@turkmens.com