Azerbaijani mugham in Israel
Openness and a genuine interest in world cultures is considered one of the most interesting and unusual features of the rich and diverse Israeli culture. Azerbaijani national music, especially mugham, attracts an Israeli listener, which is open to everything new and exotic. Israeli music lovers cannot be surprised by oriental music concerts, which take place in the framework of festivals and concerts at music academies, where there are sounds of Azerbaijani classical trio - tar, kamancheh and nagara. It was a native of Dagestan, highland Jew Peretz Eliyahu, who has contributed to the emergence of interest in Azerbaijani music between Israelis, he became promoting it in Israel from the moment he set foot upon the Holy Land.
After studying tar in a musical academy, Peretz Eliyahu not only taught his children to love Azerbaijani folk music, but started giving tar lessons at the music academies of Israel, for which he received the Israeli and international awards. Eliyahu is heading two Eastern music academies - in Jerusalem and Safed, where already his former students teach.
Periodically, these musical institutions are visited by masters of Oriental folk music from Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt at the invitation of Peretz Eliyahu, but being an admirer of Azerbaijani ethnic music, Peretz primarily invites professionals from Azerbaijan.
At the beginning of this year, students of the Maqamat Academy of Eastern music, which is located in one of the most ancient cities in Israel - Safed, attended master classes by a famous Azerbaijani kamancheh player Elshan Mansurov during the whole week. The visit of the already known to Israeli listeners Elshan Mansurov both as a teacher and as an artist became a holiday for students and all fans of Azerbaijani national music.
The Maqamat Academy is maintained under the Israeli philanthropist Moshe Tov, who is sponsoring both training of students and the Academy and its foreign experts. Only professional musicians, which graduated from the higher mugham musical centers in different Eastern countries, teach here. The Academy of Eastern music in Safed educate young people with European roots. Many students have graduated from the Jewish religious schools and they remain believers. Perhaps because of their high spirituality the religious youth is attracted to such a mysterious sublime music as mugham, which can be compared with meditation or a dive into the deep spiritual and emotional state.
The Academy of Eastern music in Safed is located in an old building, which was built during the Ottoman period more than 700 years ago. It is the only building in Safed, which has continuously operated since it was built. Its structure consists of numerous rooms separated by small courtyards with arches and intricate fences. Each room is decorated with typical oriental attributes - old copper kitchenware, oriental carved furniture and authentic home decoration, but Persian carpets that adorn the walls and floors attract the most attention. Each classroom is named after one of the forms of mugham: Rast, Humayun, Hijaz, Bayati Shiraz, Shur ...
Due to the fact that Safed is the center of religious spirituality, where everything is seemingly subordinated to the Jewish theology, here you are experiencing a real cultural and emotional shock caused by the interpenetration of cultures. Everything you see again reinforces the fundamental truth that art not only brings people together, but also saves the world, and for people from Azerbaijan it is another confirmation of the existence of almost metaphysical, mystical and spiritual ties between the peoples of Azerbaijan and Israel.