Paula: What exactly is the definition of Tatar music?Zulya: For over a thousand years the Central Volga region has been a meeting place of people. Finno-Ugrians from the North, Turkish speaking from the East and later the Slavs from the West all contributed to this culture. It is situated between Moscow and Ural Mountains. The Tatar music thus is an important link in the chain that streches from the Pacific ocean to Eastern Europe. According to the Hungarian musicologists, it's a bridge between Mongolian and Hungarian Music. The most frequently used scale among the Tatars is anhemitonic pentatonic scale. I know this sounds a bit dry, but that's more or less the description. I belong to the Kazan Tatars. There are quite a few different groups spread around. All in all there are more than 5 million people. The traditional instruments are Kurai (a long flute made of copper tubing), Kubis (a jaw harp), button accordeon and violin. It's largely a melodic tradition - rich embelishments are a part of a good performance. What I do obviously is not Tatar music in pure form. After having lived in Australia for several years I have been inspired to create a world Tatar fusion. So you can hear some African instruments, tabla, various horns, guitars, piano etc. on my last album. However there are a few pieces that I didn't change much - tracks 5 and 11 are very traditional in form. Paula: How did you end up living in Australia? Zulya: During a youth exchange to California in 1990 I met an Australian guy, who beleived that Australia would be a great nurturing place for my talents and invited me to check it out. So I did and decided to stay.
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