Azerbaijan International

Summer 2004 (12.2)
Page 13

Readers' Forum
Discovering the Balaban

I'm writing from the Netherlands. I play the Balaban. I love the sound of this instrument which I find so dark, deep and melancholic. It fits so well with the music I create. I wonder if you can help me to find an address in Azerbaijan where they sell balaban reeds (ghamish).

Actually, I discovered the balaban quite by chance in a flea market in Germany. I was looking for an instrument that looks similar to it - the duduk. But when I picked up this unknown reed instrument and started to play, I discovered a beautiful sad sound with even more warmth than the duduk. At that moment, I lost all interest for the duduk even though I didn't even know the name of the instument that I had bought. On the Internet I searched for duduk with no luck. Then someone told me that it was a balaban. That's when I found the Web site of Balaban master Alikhan Samedov [] and you -

Tejo Bolten, Amsterdam

Editor's Note: With the help of Musicologist Majnun Karimov, who is famous for the restoration of medieval music instruments, we were able to track down a shop where reeds and balabans are sold and pass the information to Tejo. For anyone interested in hearing this "sad melancholic music", sound samples of the Balaban performed by Alikhan may be heard at, click MUSIC. Alikhan's CDs may also be purchased there.

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