Bakhshi International Art Festival, Termez, Uzbekistan
Termez, Uzbekistan. Hundreds of artists of all kind, film producers, teachers, musicians, theatre directors, classical orchestra conducers, intellectuals and historians from around the world are arriving today in Uzbekistan to participate in the epic poetry festival, the unique Uzbek musical art of recreation of histories, named Bakhshi.
The art of Bakhshi is a tradition of epic poetry developed widely in the VI-V centuries BC; Bakhshi means “educator who promotes enlightenment, knowledge”. A “Bakhshi” is a clever and wise artist who sings epic songs and passes on his educational heritage from generation to generation.
The city of Termez, located at the border with Afghanistan, looks beautiful, with its greenery and spring flowers, such as tulips and early roses. Big signs are well-placed to announce the festival, every large street has been decorated with enormous flower-shaped lights and local dance groups and performers are filling up hotels and buses.
Looking forward to seeing a rare art expression with dances, scenarios and ethnic musical instruments, film directors from Sweden, Denmark, China, Greece and Belgium are attending the Bakhshi Festival in Termez. Percy Yip Tong from Mauritius, a theatre producer, record label owner, expert in traditional Sega music band with his instrument the Ravanng is in Termez as moderator for two conferences. Bakhshi Festival is also a reunion of international guests, including a number of writers, linguists, musicians and historians, some of them featuring as the festival’s keynote speakers. Besides the talented artists performing in the festival, there will also be a prestigious grand jury, as well as international guests looking for new source of inspiration.
One of the guests, Mohamed Otayeck Joseph, Marema’s manager, an experienced musician who accompanied Alpha Blondy and Steve Wonders for 15 years, arrived yesterday. Marema herself is a big name from Senegal, laureate of the Discovery prize of the RFI in 2014.
The government of Uzbekistan have invested heavily in the Bakhshi Festival, and the people of Termez have worked very hard to make it happen. Students from the language section of Termez College are disciplined and dedicated guides accompanying every guest, the local schools of dance are participating in different events, together with groups coming from other regions, ethnic musicians, choreographers, and dressmakers who have been working hard for months.
Termez International Airport was today the first setting for the Bakhshi Festival: a hundred young Uzbeks dancers and musicians received a full plain of international guests coming in Uzbekistan Airlines with their music, dances, fruits and flowers. For Karim Dakroub, theatre director from Lebanon, marionetiste and a professor at the University of Lebanon, being here in such a unique place in the centre of the Silk Road and having the possibility to exchange with colleagues from around the world is an immense opportunity.
The unique Bakhshi Festival has just started.
Images by Uzbek photographer, Beckhzod Abdudjabbarov.
Materials obtained from the http://www.diplomatmagazine.nl