Azerbaijan International

Spring 1999 (7.1)
Page 26

Oil Boom Period in Azerbaijan
(1880s - 1918)

Mikayil Mushfig

Mushfig left his mark on Azerbaijani literature despite his short life. He was one of the gifted intellectuals from Azerbaijan who were killed during Stalin's repression.

One of his most famous poems, entitled "Sing Tar, Sing!" defines the controversy that surrounded music when the Bolsheviks established Moscow's power in Baku. Some people wanted to replace the traditional stringed instrument with Western orchestral instruments and genres. Mushfig wrote a poem giving tribute to the enormous capacity that this instrument has to make listeners both joyous and mournful. In the end, music giants like Uzeyir Hajibeyov found a brilliant way to synthesize the tar into orchestral pieces, thus integrating both East and West. He neither rejected the traditional heritage of centuries nor totally embraced the Russian styles, which were gaining prestige. The final lines of Mushfig's poem read:

"Sing Tar, sing Tar, sing!
Who can forget you once they've heard you sing?!
Life of the people, joy of their hearts,
Here is their wonderful, fiery art!"


My heartbeat said:
"There's luck ahead. . .
Great, glorious days
That brace and daze
Are yet to come!"

There's more ahead. . .
My heartbeat said:
"Noble work, no fret,
Toil's pearly sweat-
Are yet to come!"

My contemporaries define:
"Past times were fine". . .
These words I hate,
My heart says: "Wait!
The sun's hot rays,
Cool springs, bright days
Are yet to come!"

Translated by Olga Moisseyenko and published in "Azerbaijanian Poetry: Classic, Modern, Traditional," edited by Mirza Ibrahimov. Moscow: Progress Publishers. No date [probably late 1970s], page 282.

From Azerbaijan International (7.1) Spring 1999.
© Azerbaijan International 1999. All rights reserved.

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