Since 1991, Yulduz Usmanova is the most popular representative of Uzbek World Music. Originally discovered by Blue Flame Records, Yulduz has an immense amount of song material still available Â reason enough to finally release a soÂcalled "best of" CD.
Also available: "Alma Alma" 39840572, "Jannona" 39840772, "Binafscha" 39840852, "The Selection Album" 39850022 (all released on Blue Flame World Music).
The music from Yulduz is an outstanding fusion in the international pop music scene. The 34 year old graduate from the department for oriental music at the conservatory in Taschkent composes her songs on the basis of old folk songs still sung in Usbekian villages today. This traditional Usbekian folklore, that include Turkish, Persian and Central Asian influences, is being mixed with western Rock, Pop and Dancestyles. "When I started, I thought this traditional music has to be preserved", explains Yulduz, "although it had to be modernized."
Each composition is carried by traditional instruments Â such as the Tambur (Central Asian long neck lute) or the Doira (original Usbekian percussion instrument), modern electronic and Yulduz's powerful, yet emotional voice. The result is an interesting synthesis, that show rhythmic, melodious songs and ballads. In Central Asia, Yulduz has advanced to a super star using this "EthnoÂCrossover"Âvariation. In Europe music magazines and feature sections in newspapers highly praised Yulduz's first three CD's "Alma Alma" (1993), "Jannona" (1995) and "Binafscha" (1996) as special World Music "listeningÂpearls".
The album "the best of Yulduz" presents retrospectives of all three releases.
Yulduz Usmanova is from Uzbekistan, along the fabled Silk Road trade route in Central Asia. Her singing is a fusion of intricately coded styles, which includes borrowings from Turkish and Persian rhythms and scales. She is accompanied by the tanbur (a long-necked lute) and the doira (a hand drum) but often wields a wicked backbeat and sees no reason why she should not use the latest electronic percussion and synthesizers. She is a folk singer and a club diva, a Moslem woman who wears miniskirts and was elected to her country's parliament, and an international figure who resides in a rural area outside of Tashkent. Her elders admire her espousal of endangered folkways while young girls, emerging from the dual oppressions of Soviet life and religious fundamentalism, cherish her as a role model. Yulduz is a bundle of contradictions but knows exactly who she is. "i"--Christina Roden