President Ilham Aliyev presents "Sharaf" Order to People’s Artist Alibaba Mammadov (PHOTO)

President Ilham Aliyev presents "Sharaf" Order to People’s Artist Alibaba Mammadov (PHOTO)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb. 12

Trend:

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva have met with prominent representative of the national mugham art, People’s Artist Alibaba Mammadov at the Heydar Aliyev Center and viewed several exhibitions organized here.

Greeting the People’s Artist Alibaba Mammadov, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Dear Alibaba muallim, first of all I would like to sincerely wish you a happy 90th birthday. I wish you good health and a long life. A week ago, I signed an executive order to award you with a high order of the Azerbaijan state – the Order of “Sharaf”. Today I will present this high award to you.

You have been delighting our people with your performing art for many years. Both as a remarkable performer, khanende, and as a wonderful composer, you have made a great contribution to the treasury of Azerbaijani musical culture. You have composed more than 100 songs. The folk songs and mughams you have performed give people special pleasure. The people wholeheartedly love you – you are a great master and a wonderful person. You epitomize Azerbaijani intelligentsia. You possess high human qualities. You are a very kind and fair person who is always ready to share his knowledge and skill with the younger generation. Your exceptional contributions to this field have been highly appreciated because many of our outstanding mugham performers are graduates of your school, if I may say so.

Mugham is our national asset. You have played a special role in preserving this national asset. In particular, I should note that, thanks to television, the regular mugham contests cover millions of viewers. Watching these contests, our people, even people who are far from music, study the true essence and subtleties of mugham. The performances by young performers and especially the analysis by the jury are of particular interest. The true essence and the subtleties of mugham are explained in the comments of the jury. You treat young performers with great generosity. Sometimes I see that you cheer them up so that they keep up their spirits. At the same time, you point out their mistakes and show the right path. I believe that this is the very merits of a master. You are one of the people who do not lock into their art but enjoy sharing it. You want the mugham to live on, so that young people can join this art.

I must also say that television contests have been held for many years at the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. I believe that this is of particular importance not only for promoting our musical culture, but also our spiritual values in general. I am very glad that the vast majority of our youth is attached to national music. This does not happen in every country. There are countries where national music remains on the sidelines. Some trendy examples of international music prevail. I believe that our advantage and happiness consist in the fact that young people are also attached to national music. It is our sacred duty to preserve and develop mugham. The international mugham festivals held in our country several times have also played a special role. Performers from many countries come to these festivals. By conducting this festival in Azerbaijan, we prove once again that mugham is our art, that the homeland of mugham is Azerbaijan, and we communicate it to the whole world. This shows how talented our people are, that our national art enjoys great love beyond our borders and that it lives in many countries.

The Azerbaijani state and the Azerbaijani people appreciate your activities. Twenty years ago, on the basis of an order of great leader Heydar Aliyev, you were awarded the Order of “Shohrat”. Ten years ago, by my order, you received the Order of “Istiglal”. A week ago, on 4 February, you were awarded the Order of “Sharaf”. Please allow me to present this order to you.

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President Ilham Aliyev presented the "Sharaf" Order to People’s Artist Alibaba Mammadov.

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President Ilham Aliyev: Congratulations!

Alibaba Mammadov: Thank you very much, dear and esteemed Mr. President.

I am a happy khanende because the state has always shown concern for me. Our great leader gave a very high praise to my performing art. I can talk about this for a long time. Thank you, thank you very much. I am happy, I consider myself a happy person. I have lived to be 90 and continuously served our people for 70 years. This is enough for me. But it is a great honor for me to receive this order from your hands today. Once again, I sincerely thank you for the many kind words you said about me. This is a very high assessment. Believe me, I like to talk but am lost for words in front of you. Today you mentioned all the facets of my activities. You spoke as if a great musician praised me. Thank you! Thank you for treating our folk music and performers with such deep respect. Thank you! Thank you, Mrs. Aliyeva. Mrs. Aliyeva visited our home and it still seems like a dream to me. Everyone says that it reverberated a lot. Wherever I go, everyone talks about that meeting. May Allah protect her!

May Allah protect you! May Allah protect you for the benefit of our people. Our country is developing and becoming more ever beautiful with every day. You are creating miracles. I am a native of Baku, I grew up in Baku, but I can’t recognize the Baku of today. I am a sincere person. I never tell lies and never do no harm to anyone. That is my ideal. Therefore, I have not seen and will never see any more respect for myself. Once again, I want to say “Thank you!” May Allah protect you!

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much, Alibaba muallim.

Alibaba Mammadov: Thank you, Mrs. Aliyeva.

Mehriban Aliyeva: Thank you very much, Alibaba muallim. All Azerbaijani people love you very much.

President Ilham Aliyev: This is a very momentous day for us because we are giving you this high award. We hope you are always as energetic and live on to create.

Alibaba Mammadov: Thanks to you. This is really the case. I haven’t seen so much respect for a khanende. Tremendous respect.

President Ilham Aliyev: You deserve it. The high award presented to you is a manifestation of state attention to art because it was art that has preserved us as a people, as a nation for centuries. We know our history very well. For many years, for decades, for centuries, we were deprived of independence, but did not lose our language, our religion, our music, our spirituality. This is what has preserved us – art, music, literature, language, national values. Mugham embodies all these factors. Therefore, it is our sacred duty to protect and develop mugham. We see that there are different trends in world music today. They inevitably cross our borders too, because this is an issue where restrictions are impossible. If young people move away from their national values, their music, then how can they be patriotic in the future?! How can they protect the interests of independent Azerbaijan?! Young people should have the national spirit, and our music, among other things, is the source of that. In particular, Azerbaijan is the cradle of such universal art as mugham.

Alibaba Mammadov: This is true. Azerbaijan is indeed the cradle, and we can say this out loud. As a member of the jury and a performer of mugham, I have always explicitly said that mugham is ours. If you don’t believe that, then come and see. Thanks to Mehriban Aliyeva, as she said that mugham is ours. She has built a center for us, opened the way for mugham, for contests. Thanks to these contests, we are now known all over the world. They have really helped me personally. This is really the case. So thank you for keeping our music alive. The great leader has always said that mugham is our national treasure. Mr. President also says that mugham is our national treasure. The First Lady says that mugham is our national treasure. As an elder, I want to talk a little about mugham. Mugham is an art form that no-one can claim to have created it. He has no creator. If there were, then our great master Uzeyir would have created a number of mughams. It doesn’t work like that, it is impossible. This is music comes from God, it is divine music. Like the Koran, it is also divine music. Therefore, sometimes I am surprised to see a child singing a passage that I do not know myself. This does not come from him, but from God. Therefore, thanks to you, we say that mugham belongs to Azerbaijan. There is no such mugham as in Azerbaijan.

President Ilham Aliyev: That's right.

Mehriban Aliyeva: You are right.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, Alibaba muallim.

XXX

President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then viewed exhibitions at the center.

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