Ayshemgul_Memet.jpgAyshemgul Memet

“I was 13 years old when I heard a Muqam for the first time. It was a short fragment from Muqam Panjigah. The beauty of this music magnetized me. I knew that Muqam was my destiny. I tried really hard to get into the only music school where we could learn Muqams. I didn’t have a master in the traditional way, but I did learn a lot from old recordings. For me Muqam is a philosophy that has deep meanings. It takes years of life experience to understand its secrets”.

Ayshemgul Memet was born in 1970 in Shixo. She studied folksong performing at Xinjiang Art Institute from 1992-1996. After her graduation she became a folksong teacher in the same institute from 1996 to 2000. Then she went to Uzbekistan to study different kinds of Muqam traditions in Central Asia.

Ayshemgul Memet had the same travel experiences as the traditional Muqam singers. As a Sufi master once said: “You can only achieve wisdom through exile”. Her performance has the approval not only of audiences but also by specialists. She pointed out her secret as an Ili folksong performer: “You have to understand what the lyrics are trying to tell you. Nowadays, many traditional singers ignore the importance of the words, they just sing what they learned at school or from their father. When singing the Ili Xelq Naxshisi, it should be a performance about the history and the braveness of Ili valley”. This might be one of the reasons why Ayshemgul was approved as a female singer for this repertoire.

Memet’s first performance in Europe was in Paris in 2002 with a group of Uyghur musicians from Tashkent. After her stay in Tashkent, she came back to the institute in Urumchi to become a Muqam teacher for another five years. In 2007 she won the first prize in traditional singing at the International Chinese Music competition in Beijing, China. She decided to come back to Uzbekistan and in 2008 she started her MA degree at Tashkent musical conservatory, majoring in ‘traditional performing’.

Her love for Muqam isn’t only limited to performing; over the course of several years Ayshemgul Memet has published many scientific articles about traditional Uyghur Muqams and the performing art. She was invited to give lectures at many conferences about Uyghur music. She also experiments, performing works with orchestras.

Mukaddas Mijit