Zainab Palvanova – Ofarin

Welcome to Excavated Shellac.

I feel like I have to say that every once in a while, both for anyone new who may have found themselves here, and for myself, to keep my motivation going. Excavated Shellac has been online for 18 months now, and I have shared a total of 81 different records. I still think it remains a unique spot – on the web, at least. I could conceivably do this for a long time, though I have no idea how long I will continue – just as I have no idea how long I will continue the collecting, the scheming, the acquiring, the hunting for these pieces of music that make me happy. I’ve been away for the past few weeks, so I wanted to say thank you to those who continue to stop by and listen, and for allowing me to indulge.

With that, we’re off to Uzbekistan, after World War II. Before 1917 and the Russian Revolution, quite a bit of recording was made in the Caucasus region and Central Asia, as European record companies were interested (somewhat amazingly) in exploring new markets in places like Tashkent and Tbilisi. Few original copies of those very early recordings have turned up (for a sample, I would recommend the Topic CD Before the Revolution). And, according to much of what I’ve been reading, very little recording was made in Central Asian regions between 1917 and the Second World War. However, in the early 1950s, the Russian label CCCP recorded “ethnic” folk music on 78 from the Caucasus to Central Asia and beyond. Some was imported into the United States even, with English translations on the label, presumably for immigrant communities or sold in Russian record stores. Still, even those are quite difficult to find today.

Zainab Palvanova’s piece, sung in Uzbek, is translated as “Glory” and she is accompanied by a “folk instruments orchestra” led by Y. Radzhabov. The folk instruments I can detect are at least one long-necked lute (probably a tar or dutar), the nay flute, at least one fiddle, and the unmistakable sound of the doira frame drum. It’s from ca. 1955.

Zainab Palvanova – Ofarin

For music from the CCCP label during this period, the Secret Museum’s Central Asia CD is heartily recommended.

Technical Notes
Label: CCCP
Issue Number: 24932 (a)
Matrix Number: 24932/4-1

13 thoughts on “Zainab Palvanova – Ofarin

  1. After 80 some tunes figure its time for at least one comment. Enormous thanks for the music and especially for the care put into your extremely tasteful improvement of the sound quality. They sound great and we can hear the music not the artifact(s) – in both senses of the word. I’ve been making comps (which just sit in my itunes) and we’re halfway through “Excavated Shellac 78’s Vol.4” and they are as good or better than anything available commercially in a similar vein. Hope you please do keep up the incredible work/sharing. Thank you.

  2. Thanks very much. I wasn’t consciously fishing for compliments, but of course, I appreciate the kind words. More importantly, I am very glad you’re enjoying the music. That is paramount.

  3. I know you weren’t fishing for compliments, but you certainly deserve them. As someone who has a number of web-based labor of love projects I know that one can often wonder if anyone cares. Well, I do, for one. You are helping me explore the world of music in a way that would be impossible otherwise. Thank you!

  4. I love everything you post, thank you! I play some of this music on there is a magic from the past that is inimitable you have your finger on it. Pleae continue as long as you can.

  5. i understand you are allowed your moments of doubt, but please don’t stop! not only is your choice of music excellent, but you manage to add a precise and documented story for each track. you deserve the compliments!

  6. I’m always amazed by the knowledge you have about all these different musics, and I know it’s not easy to know all this !
    Every monday, your site is one of my first clicks of the day.
    By the way, I wrote a post about Kostas Bezos (, the Greek musician who played Hawaiian music and rebetika but I didn’t find a lot of info about him. Do you know if he recorded other Hawaiian songs ? Thanks a lot !

  7. ‘CCCP’ is not label. It’s the corrupted name of Soviet Union Soyus Soverskih Sotsialisticheskih Respublik).
    ‘Апрелевский завод’ (Aprelevsky zavod -Aprelevsky plant) is the label.

  8. Really enjoying your website, so well put together.
    I just wondered if anyone has details of the cutting equipment/ potential EQ curve used at the Aprelevsky plant?

    1. Thanks, Nicola – I don’t know of any. However, my own experience shows that they had a wider cutting stylus ca. 1940 (plays best with a .0030), and by the early 1960s, it was quite thin, playing best with a .0022.

  9. Nicola – With nearly all 78s, I would avoid an EQ curve altogether. The EQ curve really didn’t come into wider global use until the 1950s, and even then, many smaller companies used their own equalization. Possibly later Soviet recordings will sound fine, but I would always keep the ability to adjust EQ as needed 🙂

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