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date: 15 December 2019

Turdi Axon locked

  • Sabine Trebinjac

Extract

(b Yi-isar (Yingjisha), Xinjiang, 1881; d ?Kashgar, 1956). Uighur musician . Turdi Axon has had the stature of national hero for the Uighurs in Chinese Xinjiang since the 1950s. His photograph appears in numerous books on Uighur music, Uighur culture, and even on tourist attractions of China. It shows a gaunt man of medium height with long white hair and beard, wearing a cap as he bends over his satar.

40 years after his death, his reputation endures as a harsh and demanding character. Living in Kashgar, Yarkand, and then Khotan, the only disciples he accepted were his sons, a nephew, and exceptionally a young boy outside his own family, on whom he imposed preliminary humiliations. Teaching was based on imitation, since neither he nor his pupils could read music; it involved constant listening, imitation and repetition. One month was sufficient to memorize one muqam of about two hours. Before every performance, to help his pupils avoid mistakes, Turdi would sing the whole ...

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