Dzhemil Karikov about creativity and life


How weddings helped preserve the national music of the Crimean Tatars during the time of deportation, what is the uniqueness of this culture, why it was possible to revive it only in the 2000s? We talked with an ascetic of the Crimean Tatar musical art, a talented composer and expert on the theory of Crimean Tatar music Dzhemil Karikov.
–  Who instilled in you a love for Crimean Tatar folklore?
– Relatives sent us Crimean Tatar records; we poured fragrant coffee and arranged for sessions
with the whole family. It happened at home. At that time, the Tashkent factory of gramophone
records released records of ours – I am not afraid of this word – of outstanding performers. For
example, Sabriya Eredzhepova, Edie Topchi, Sakine Nalbandova. And so I listened to it far, of
course, from the Crimea, far from the centre of the Crimean Tatar musical culture (in those
years it was Tashkent). And when we, Crimean Tatars, went to visit each other, we could not
do without some feast where there were songs and dances. 
–  What is the uniqueness of Crimean Tatar music?
–   It is a synthesis of eastern and western traditions. Probably, the geographical location of
Crimea itself contributed to this. In our Crimean Tatar culture, both Western and Eastern
influence is felt. But this is all very organic, not artificial fusion of these traditions. 
–   Why was it possible to revive Crimean Tatar music only in the 2000s?
–  This is due to the historical collisions that our people have undergone. During the deportation there was no room for the development of culture in general, and of course, musical culture. Because there were no subjects related to Crimean Tatar music in any music school,
not to mention music schools or conservatories, it was very difficult. Mostly the folklore part of our music has survived, thanks to the wedding musicians. Therefore, now we need to go forward by leaps and bounds. After returning to Crimea, I realised that we need to start from
the foundation. Just as any house does not stand without a strong foundation, so a musical culture must rely on a strong foundation; this is, first of all, our Crimean Tatar tradition. Without knowing the tradition, you cannot continue it, and, even more so, develop it. The music of the khan period is our professional music, which is also called palace music. This is the music that was written 100 years before Bach and Handel. And then the
Crimean Tatars already possessed such unique and quite developed forms represented by such works as Peshraf, Takhsin and others. Unfortunately, several generations of Crimean Tatars were cut from this heritage and at the end of the 20th – beginning of the 21st century we returned to it again.

– Do you feel like a happy person?
– I am happy that I am engaged in my musical culture. Another question is that this is a very thorny path. But at the same time, there is that unceasing pain that exists in each of us. You understand what I’m talking about, and what I mean. Of course, it is better to live in your own country and create. But there were many examples in history when this or that artist was forced, for one reason or another, to live outside his homeland. You know, it happened historically that the mass of our people was forced to live outside the homeland and amounts to several million. In the same Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, America, Germany, and Canada – we are very many around the world. If we only could join forces… I often talked about this after returning from places of deportation. I said: “Look, it’s clear that this is a tragedy of the peope lthat we are deported. But now, maybe we have a unique opportunity. We were resettled in different places – someone lived in the Urals, someone people lived in Siberia, someone lived in Central Asia… If we bring the best things that we have gained there and accumulate in Crimea, and then we will have a full flowering of culture.”

Jemil Karikov is 58 years old. He was born in Uzbekistan, where his parents were deported from Crimea. He returned to Crimea in 1991, settled with his family in Simferopol. Already then he wrote music for several performances that were staged on the stage of the Crimean Tatar Theater. In the 90s, he founded the Maqam ensemble together with young musicians. The talented composer and expert on the theory of Crimean Tatar music Karikov has released several collections, which to this day is a source of valuable information for musicians. He managed to revive many ancient Crimean Tatar folk instruments: saz, kaval, tanbur, baglama and others. And also restore lost and forgotten songs.

Zair Akadyrov

Author: Редакция Avdet