By Manijeh Rezapoor

Ashiq Hassan Eskandari asks for officials’ special concern for Ashiqlar music

February 12, 2020 - 18:27

TEHRAN – Ashiq Hassan Eskandari, a top musician from Iran’s Azarbaijan, has called on the country’s cultural officials for their particular concern for Ashiqlar music and all musicians working in this field. 

The 35th edition of the festival, which will open in Tehran tomorrow, plans to honor Eskandari for his lifetime achievements in the field of Ashiqlar music, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity Inscribed in 2009.

“I feel proud to be honored at the closing ceremony of the festival, however, I like other Iranian musicians,” he told Tehran Times in a telephone interview on Wednesday. 

Ashiqlar is a unique style of traditional music, which is mainly common in Iran’s Azarbaijan region. Ashiqlar music is performed by an ashiq, who blends together instrumental and vocal music, dance, poetry and storytelling in his performances.

Ashiq Eskandari said that Ashiq music is not being shown sufficient concern at present and noted that it needs more help and attention from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. 

“The costs for holding concerts have been increasing these days and we are sometimes forced to cancel our programs due to this problem,” he said.

“However, there needs to be increased funding from the public sectors and especially the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to support this type of music and its musicians, and provide more facilities to offer lessons at lower prices to the youth,” he proposed.

He said that people, especially the younger generation, in Tabriz and other cities in the Azarbaijan region are interested in learning the music.

“There are many centers teaching the music but the rent is too high and the expenses are also high and there is not much support,” he lamented.

“I am 75 and I cannot go to wedding ceremonies to give performances. I wish that Ashiqs would have better opportunities to present their art during concerts, and that their music would be able to attain the notable position it deserves,” he noted.

Eskandari’s performances in other countries, including France, Japan and China, have been warmly welcomed. He has also recorded several albums including “Heydar Baba”.

The 35th Fajr Music Festival will be running until February 19.

Photo: Ashiq Hassan Eskandari in an undated photo.