Traditional Music of the Crimean Tatars: Balaklava by Nariman Asanov
Nariman Asanov performs the Crimean Tatar melody "Balaklava” with accompaniment by Patrick Farrell on accordion and Lenur Mamutov on percussion at the Ukrainian Museum in Manhattan, May 10, 2017.
Nariman Asanov (violin) was born in Almalik, Uzbekistan in 1973, the child of community activists who survived the Soviet’s mass deportation of Crimean Tatars to Central Asia in 1944. Growing up in a large community-in-exile, he was inspired by a local village fiddler, as well as the late Enver Sherfedinov, a leading Crimean Rom violinist who frequently played on Uzbek television. In 1988, Asanov's family was able to return to Crimea, and he enrolled in the Tchaikovsky Music College in Simferopol, now the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in Ukraine. While there, Asanov became one of the first members of Ali Alimov’s Uchan-su Folk Ensemble, which takes its name from a famous waterfall near Yalta. Uchan-su toured the US in 1991 and in 1994, and at the end of the second visit Asanov decided to stay. He enrolled in the Music Conservatory at SUNY Purchase and graduated with a degree in violin performance. Leading a band composed of a number of émigré alumni of Uchan-su and the Efsane Ensemble, Asanov performs frequently for events at the American Association of Crimean Turks in Boro Park, Brooklyn, as well as at weddings and other family celebrations in the community. Asanov has been a featured artist of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance for several years, performing at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University and The United Nations.
“Balaklava” is named after a harbor settlement in the city of Sevastapol on the southern tip of the Crimean Penninsula. The piece is also well-known in Jewish klezmer music.