I’m kicking off February with a series of musically intense posts. Get ready.
Today, we move over to Central Asia for a blistering solo by Mr. Damirov, performed, I believe, on the garmon, a Russian button accordion commonly used in Azeri folk music. I find this piece to be absolutely perfect – both frenetic and fluid, deeply traditional yet utterly contemporary.
The “Dictaphone” label – well, that’s a story in itself. In the US in the early 1950s or so, someone, somewhere (a record shop? a multilingual entrepreneur?), decided to bootleg music from the Near and Central East, presumably for sale to immigrants in the States, likely in New York City (the Balkan record label shop, perhaps?) or in Fresno, California. This someone set up a series of more or less uniform-looking record labels with the same typeset, and little to no pertinent information on them, save for the artist and title. Sometimes, the original title was changed or altered. “Perfectaphone” is the label that I’ve seen most often – that was for Turkish music. “Armenophone” is another that crops up, obviously the Armenian imprint. Then there was “Dictaphone” for music of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and other Central Asian countries, there was Smyrnaphone, a label called simply Eastern – and maybe the least common, “Kurdophone” for music from Kurdish regions (though most if not all of the discs I’ve seen on this label are Turkish). This beautiful Dictaphone record was almost certainly bootlegged from Russia’s state-run Melodiya label, which was a real giant in terms of output.
Whomever was running this outfit had a pretty good ear – most everything I’ve heard on all of these labels is really quite good, if not stone beautiful. Yes, Perfectaphones have quite a bit of Turkish popular music from the mid-20th century on there, but also plenty of folk and classically-tinged material. And, surprisingly, as bootlegs they sound pretty nice.
For more Damirov, check the Secret Museum’s Central Asia CD. There are some garmon players on YouTube, as well – try here.
Label: Dictaphone (originally from CCCP, most likely)
Issue Number: No. 15
Matrix Number: n/a
7 thoughts on “Teyyub Damirov – Jeirany”
I first heard about the garmon accordion from the recent wonderful Music Of Central Asia Vol. 4 – Bardic Divas, from Smithsonian Folkways.
It’s an odd looking squeezebox, weird buttons like keys on the left and keys like buttons on the right. I’d love to see one played up close. We used a photo of it when we played some on our Accordion Noir podcast in November.
Thanks for this new (old) stuff!
Azeri music on accordion is a new one. Check this out:
This must be something like “ceyrani” or “cəyrani” in today’s Azerbaijanian. “Ceyran” means “deer” in English.
Thanks for the record.
This has just GOTTA be Terry Riley, in disguise – right?
I know. The Azeri version of Poppy Nogood.
Temiuv Damirov’s song “Vagzalia” also appears on the Accordions of the World comp where he’s listed as being from Tajikistan. What’s on the A-side of “Jeirany”?
Hi Morgan –
The “Accordions of the World” comp is incorrect. Damirov is not Tadjik – he’s most certainly Azeri. I have several other discs by him, credited as Azeri, playing the garmon. I think the flip to this disc is by an entirely different artist, though I’ll confirm soon – this was a regular practice of Soviet issues (split sides). I guess the bootleg outfit in the US that created these -oPhone discs often practiced the same thing, as far as I can tell. A total mixed bag.