The Ministry of Culture organized an evening on February 20 to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the remarkable singer, professor, and holder of Shohrat, Istiglal, and Sharaf Orders, Arif Babayev at the Azerbaijan State Academic Philharmonic named after Muslim Magomayev. The event was attended by well-known figures of culture and art, music- lovers, and other guests.
Before the concert, the renowned singer gave an interview to journalists, expressed his gratitude to the country's leadership for their attention and care towards his art, and thanked the organizers and participants of the jubilee night.
During the event, a letter of congratulations was read out to the jubilarian on behalf of the staff of the Ministry of Culture. The letter emphasized Arif Babayev's remarkable contributions to Azerbaijani mugham art and folk music through his distinctive performances and activity as an experienced educator, following the footsteps of the masters of the Karabakh mugham school of rich traditions for many years. It was stated that the memorable characters created by the singer in mugham operas are bright pages in the history of Azerbaijani art.
On the anniversary night, it was noted that Arif Babayev gained fame as a skilled mugham performer not only in Azerbaijan but in the entire Muslim East and the Turkic world. The mughams "Shur", "Rast", "Bayati-Shiraz", "Chahargah", "Mirza Huseyn segah", "Zabul segah", and "Segah", as well as folk songs, tasnifs, and composer's songs performed by Arif Babayev have contributed to the treasury of our musical culture. Moreover, he is renowned as one of the most skilled performers of the roles of Majnun and Karam in the operas "Leyli and Majnun", "Asli and Karam", Garib in "Ashig Gharib", Shah Ismail in "Shah Ismail", and Jamal in "Bride's Rock" in different periods.
It was noted that Arif Babayev's mugham performances have been loved and cherished across generations. Among the Azerbaijani mugham singers, Arif Babayev was the first to be awarded the academic title of professor. He is currently the head of the Mugham Department at the Azerbaijan National Conservatory. His students successfully promote our mugham both in the country and abroad.
Later, he was welcomed on stage amidst thunderous applause from the audience. People's artists Mansum Ibrahimov, Zabit Nabizadeh, Nazakat Teymurova, Aygun Bayramova, Honored artists Jabir Abdullayev, Tayyar Bayramov, Firuz Sakhavat, Zakir Aliyev, Gulustan Aliyeva, Beyimkhanim Valiyeva, Sabuhi Ibayev, Elnur Zeynalov, Sevinj Sariyeva, Honored artist Agil Malikov, Honored teacher Gazanfar Abbasov, singers Aytan Maharramova, Vugar Aliyev, Huseyn Malikov, Miralam Miralamov, Ravana Amiraslanli, Gunay Imamguliyeva, Khayal Huseynov, and Orkhan Huseynli performed pieces from the master singer's repertoire.
The repertoire of the program consisted of various musical compositions, including tasnifs such as "I am happy" by B. Karimov, "Come my tar-kaman", "Let me sacrifice", and "Mahur" by A. Babayev, the folk song "Come," an excerpt from U. Hajibeyli's opera "Leyli and Majnun", "When I am gone" by N. Mammadov, "Beloved" by Sh. Akhundova, "I'm so bound" by R. Mustafayev, " Karabakh Shikastasi" and other musical compositions.
The performers were accompanied by People's Artists Firuz Aliyev, Elchin Hashimov, Elshan Mansurov, Honored Artists Rauf Islamov, Ismayil Hamidov, Khayyam Mammadov, Elnur Ahmadov, Alakbar Alakbarov, Aliagha Sadiyev, as well as Elman Sadigov, Rashad Ibrahimov, Altay Niftaliyev, and Tabriz Yusubov.