Filed under: Uzbekistan
Officially known as the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: O‘zbekiston Respublikas orЎзбeкиcтoн Pecпyблиacи), it is one of only two countries in the world that are doubly landlocked. Located in Central Asia, Uzbekistan was formerly part of the Soviet Union, and it shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south.
Formed in the early 1970’s, the members of Yalla are graduates of the Ostrovsky Theatrical Art Institute and the Ashrafi State Conservatory in Tashkent. They are not Russian but Uzbek, a Turkic nationality from the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road. The group, whose name is an Uzbek word for a song accompanied by dancing, has become a popular icon in Uzbekistan, frequently serving as cultural ambassadors to international festivals or meetings abroad. Their music incorporates traditional ethnic folk tunes and poetry of Uzbekistan and other Central Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, along with contemporary pop and dance influences. They perform songs in more than 10 languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Nepali and French as well as Uzbek and Russian.
Yalla has appeared on Soviet national television as well as performing in Moscow and elsewhere in the Soviet Union, and on concert tours in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, including featured appearances at the “Voice of Asia” festival in Kazakhstan. The band has been named “State Merited Chamber-Instrumental Ensemble” (a musical equivalent to poet laureate), and winner of the Lenin Komsomol Prize of Uzbekistan. Also, Farrukh Zakirov, artistic director of Yalla and composer of many of their songs, was elected to Uzbekistan’s national parliament.
Members of Yalla:
Farrukh Zakirov – artistic director, composer, vocal
Rustam Iliasov – arranger, vocal, bass guitar
Abbos Aliyev – arranger, tan-buzuk, rubab, oud, vocal, keyboards
Javlon Tokhtayev – vocal, guitar
Alishier Tulyaganov – vocal, percussion, doira, tabla
Ibraghim Aliyev – percussion, darbuka, kairok-tosh