The 650th anniversary of Azerbaijan's beloved poet Imadaddin Nasimi (1369-1417) in 2019 was marked by two compositions in which his famous qezel "Sigmazam" was set to music. Qezel poetry is usually performed in mugam, a branch of traditional Azerbaijani music, and its unorthodox use by pop stars in these two compositions sparked intense debates. In this article, I discuss how the deep significance and instrumentality that qezel poetry holds in the post-Soviet context explains the powerful impact of the two pieces. I show how interpretation and imagination of qezel meanings in mugam, especially the theme of the beyond, is a way to make social and political realities and articulate post-Soviet subjectivities that emerge through the narrative of loss and in relation to beliefs about the Soviet past.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies