Apart from the opening days in Baku and the regions and the grand closing concert and awards ceremony, there was a master class for youth which gave the capital’s audience an enjoyable glimpse into a promising mugham future. Each of the other seven nights in the Mugham Centre saw Azerbaijani musicians perform one of the seven main modes of mugham: Rast, Shur, Segah, Chahargah, Bayati-Shiraz, Shushtar and Humayun.
The Saturday evening concert began with the Al Adwar group, led by Moroccan-born singer Aïcha Redouane and her Lebanese husband Habib Yammine in a performance of Maqam’s Soul. Their music has a strong Sufi influence; the opening song was a setting of a 14th century Sufi poem. Redouane’s singing was almost trance-like in its invocations, taking breaks and breaths as if she was contemplating the mysteries behind each phrase. Far from remote, however, she was keen to communicate her joy at being in the company of so many branches of the same musical tree.