On Thursday 13 October, Club Inégales’ Unequal Times series kicks off with a performance from renowned doira player Abbos Kosimov accompanied by Sardor Mirzakhojaev and introduced by Dr Razia Sultanova from the University of Cambridge. We caught up with Sardor to discuss Uzbek traditional music (in which both he and Abbos are trained) and his previous collaborations with club director Peter Wiegold.
How would you describe traditional Uzbek music to anyone who’d never heard it before?
Uzbek traditional music is known as Maqom and also sometimes called Palace music. The difference between Maqom and traditions from other countries it that it’s fixed and no improvisation is used.
As a multi-instrumentalist, which one of the Uzbek instruments you play are you most drawn to and why?
Originally, I studied to play the rubab for over 15 years so really I’m still learning all the other instruments and trying to get the best sound of them. However, I’m still most drawn to the rubab because I’m always trying to add some new melodies to my repertoire.
You’ve played alongside Abbos many times in the past. What do you enjoy most about his performances and what’s it like collaborating with him?
Abbos is great because he knows all the traditional Uzbek melodies which means that, unlike some percussionists who are just thinking about the rhythm and not listening to the tune, his playing always flows with melody.
As well as working together, you’ve also both collaborated with Peter Wiegold before on his work The Great Wheel with the London Sinfonietta. What was it like putting that piece together with Peter and what are you looking forward to most about working together again?
Peter is great musician. When I first rehearsed with him, I could tell that he knew Uzbek music very well because he could easily improvise on any melody I played. I have some interesting melodies which will sound ideal with Peter’s performance and I’m really looking forward to putting them together…
As an Uzbek musician based in London, do you incorporate elements of British music and culture into your work and, if so, how?
I’m very interested in British pop music and, to be honest, the first time I heard singers in London I thought this is where the real singers are and I’ve even thought about incorporating one of London Grammar’s songs into my work.
If someone’s never heard you or Abbos perform before, are there any recordings that you’d recommend listening to to get a sense of your work?
Sardor performs alongside Abbos Kosimov, Dr Razia Sultanova and Notes Inégales at Club Inégales on Thursday 13th October. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Club Inégales website here.