The Uzbek musical heritage is rich and diverse. Such musical pieces like ‘Dilhiroj’, ‘Munojot’, ‘Ushshok’, ‘Galdir’, ‘Tanovar’, ‘Bayet’, ‘Dugoh’, ‘Segoh’, ‘Ajam’ and many others are characterized by the original and peculiar manner of performance; each of them has its own history, philosophy and sense. In the 20th century the song ‘Kora Sochim’ (‘My Black Hair’) and its alternative versions known as ‘Tanovar’, including ‘Endi Sendek’, ‘Adolcha’ (or ‘Adolat Tanovari’), ‘Yevvoji Tanovar’, ‘Sumbula’, ‘Lo’loncha’, ‘Farghonocha’ and others, were widely spread among the population of the Fergana Valley. They were much popular among the people who called them Fergana, Tashkent and Kokand ‘Tanovar’. Usually the word ‘tanovar’ was used by the artisans and meant ‘deriving several things from one object’. This definition is so precise that seems to be a special musical term.

Mukarram Turgunbayeva

The word ‘tanovar’ consists of two parts: «tan» (soul) and «ovar» (delight) used both in the Uzbek and Tajik languages. However, it has acquired a philosophic meaning and implies such notions like ‘self-sacrifice’ and ‘gift’. Even today, ‘Tanovar’ fills hearts of the audience with the sincerity of recognizable folk motives. Many male and female singers have been lovingly performing it. Materials collected about ‘Tanovar’ testify that all its versions are to some extent closely interconnected being lyrical works filled with inner emotions, melancholy and joyfulness, light dreams about the beloved one and bitterness of parting with him.

‘Tanovar’ song was created ‘in the internal female environment’. Its performers are also women that is why any of its version is based on the world of feminine anxiety and spiritual sufferings hidden from the outsider’s look.

The People’s Actress Rozikhon Karimova has much contributed to ‘Tanovar’ studies and staging of the Uzbek dances. She has published a number of books dedicated to folk dances. When we talked with her in January 2004, the actress was excitedly and enthusiastically telling us about ‘Tanovar’ performers. It is known from the history that ‘Tanovar’ song is widely spread in the Fergana Valley. Therefore, its performers mainly come from Andijan, Marghilan, Kokand and Fergana. R. Karimova mentions Adolhon aya, Nazirhon aya and Bedamhon aya, who were very famous in their times. A number of versions of this song have been created on the basis of the song ‘Kora Sochim’ performed by Adolhon aya. ‘Adolcha’ is one of them. The professional actress Mehri Abdullaeva was one of the first to perform Tanovar ‘Adolcha’. In the 30-s when ‘Tanovar’ started moving from the ‘internal feminine environment’ into ‘external environment’, Nazirhon aya from Andijan sang ‘Kora Sochim’ so touchingly that there was no listener who could not but admire her singing.

Bertha Davidova

There is one more performer of ‘Tanovar’, that is Boborahim Mirzaev who managed to create new versions of ‘Tanovar’. In addition, Mukarramhon Turgunbaeva who made ‘Tanovar’ famous worldwide was suggested dancing to this song. Mukarram-apa liked the idea very much. Thus, the endless sorrow of the female soul, grief of parting, desire of unity with the beloved one was embodied in the movements of the dancer. «In 1943», tells R.Karimova, «The dance was staged by Evgeny N. Baranovsky who made a great contribution to the development of the Uzbek choreographic art. The dance made ‘Tanovar’ song even more popular, and the interest to it started growing». Describing the dance, Roziyahon Karimova refers to every line of ‘Kora Sochim’ accompanied by dance movements that were creating the ‘Tanovar’ dance.

During our talk with the famous musician, bastakor from Marghilan, Mamasadik Madaliev, who collected over 13 versions of ‘Tanovar’, remembered its performers and told us about the song performed by Nazirhon aya, Tuhfahon aya and Toshhon aya whom he knew in the youth. In addition, ‘Tanovar’ song also occupied a significant place in the repertoire of the man-singers Boborakhim Mirzaev and Jurakhon Sultonov. In the 30th, famous singers, bastakors, actors used ‘Tanovar’ during ‘mushoira’ musical and poetical dialogues (poet’s contest); this promoted creation of new samples and versions. Among them were ‘Kora Sochim’, ‘Endi Sendek’ and ‘Sumbula’ popularized by the famous actors Mukhiddin Kariyakubov and Tukhtasin Djalilov who have much contributed to the development of the Uzbek national music. Ergash Khafiz, a popular singer from the Fergana Valley, called ‘Ergash tanovar’ knew and masterly performed about eight versions of ‘Tanovar’.

Our contemporary, a famous musician Turgun Alimatov who created and masterly performed on dutar and tanbur new original versions of ‘Tanovar’ highly valued ‘Tanovar’. He noted, «Tanovar’ is the greatest melody! I believe that it occupies the same place as our makoms and is of world significance. Probably, nobody can perform ‘Tanovar’ easily and unceremoniously. Therefore ‘Tanovar’ versions were created and performed by the highly talented masters of arts like Boborakhim Mirzaev, Jurahon Sultonov, Mehri Abdullaeva, Halima Nasirova, Tavakkal Kodirov, Bertha Davidova, Kamoliddin Rakhimov and many others» (From a personal talk of the author with T. Alimatov).

The People’s Actress of Uzbekistan, Rakhimahon Mazokhidova, greatly contributed to the perfection of such versions of Kokand and Fergana ‘Tanovar’ like ‘Kora Sochim’, ‘Emdi Sendek’, ‘Asl Yerim’ (‘Yevvoi Tanovar’), ‘Sumbula’, ‘UzganTanovari’ and others. She tells us about the first Kokand performers of ‘Tanovar’, «There lived Adolhon aya (in the 40-s) in the Isfara quarter of the Kokand city. Adolhon aya played dutar and beautifully performed ‘Kora Sochim’. Together with other women-singers from Kokand, Khalimahon, Khurmathon, Yedgorhon (mother of the famous singer Komiljon Baratov), Bedamhon, Karomathon aya (wife of the folk poet Khamza Khakimzade Niyazi) very masterly performed several versions of ‘Tanovar’.

Folklore song collector and performer Rakhima Mazokhidova (in the center)

Bedamhon aya beautifully played one of the ‘Tanovar’ versions — ‘Sumbula’ — on the dutar and excellently danced at the same time. Lovers of art admired mastership variety of this woman.

‘Zebunnisso’ play was staged in the Kokand theatre in 1940-1950. Kholshon aya played the part of Zebunnisso. In this role she was so much inspired when performed playing dutar one of the versions of ‘Kokand Tanovar’ — ‘Ah, voi sanam’ — that people started calling her Zebunnisso» (From the personal talk with R. Mazokhidova). Memory of the people captured Fergana version of ‘Tanovar’ thanks to its performance interpretation of Lutfihon Sarimsakova.

Therefore, ‘Tanovar’ is an inexhaustible source of performance mastership for many musicians and singers of Uzbekistan. We can assuredly say that ‘Tanovar’ versions serve heralds of people’s soul, life and joy. Anyone can understand it, but, first and foremost, those who have performed it being fully aware of its content.

Iroda Ganieva