Dialogues and Poems

 [ before the first narration:]

O Heavenly Wheel you have spun me round and round!

[ I was in Koulab, and you brought me to Balkh!

I was in Koulab, drinking sweet water!

You brought me here to the bitter waters!]


[On the last shot of Amir statute]:

Woe to the poor one who is separated from homeland 

Obayd Rajab, Stage Manager of Dawlatmand  and Head of Tajik TV:

“... Dawlatmand created new rhythms which were adopted by other folkloric and professional ensembles. He knows how differently songs can be played using various musical instruments. In other words, he deliberately avoids prevalent clichés. For example, he knows that it is better to play a piece of music using specific instruments, or that the volume of this instrument should be higher. He also knows which part of the music should be played by an ensemble, and which part should be accompanied by the back-up singer. He knows these things quite well.

 [ inside opera hall]

[Lahouti's Poem:]

O My Tulip! May I be your neighbor!

May I become a cloud, casting my shadow over you! 

Talib Shahidi, Conductor of Dushanbe's Symphony Orchestra

In those days, Dawlatmand Khalov used to perform frequently in Dushanbe and Moscow symphony halls. I was in Moscow when I found some of the recordings of his performances which were based on popular poems and also a Falak recital which I wanted to use in the Yusuf and Zulaykha ballet. It went like this:

(Shahidi plays the piano)

I used this in the Yusuf and Zulaykha ballet which required such specific music. Afterwards I used it in the symphonies that I composed and performed, for instance in Moscow and Tashkent.

 (The song continues.)

May I be a cane in the hand of your chaperon.

I am the sincere slave of your love.

By your dark eyes I swear

You are my only cure!

 Talib Shahidi:

Dawlatmand Khalov's voice is always echoing in my ears. I always try to compose my music based on Falak, especially the Falak as interpreted by Dawlatmand, to give it a unique national character.

 Question: What is your favorite Dawlatmand song? What is most typical of his style?

Answer: I like Dawlatmand's performances of Jami’s and Rumi's poems best. I really like it when he sits down and performs a piece with only two or four musicians.

 [Rumi's Poem : on home made video shots]

Let go of stratagems, O Lovers!

Embrace Madness! Embrace Madness!

Moth-like, Go to the heart of the hearth

            Face the Fire! Face the Fire!

Make yourself a stranger

Turn your home into a ruin

With the lovers of danger

            Live together in one place, in one place

 [In chaaykhona:]

I told you ‘ you are my only beloved’,

I told you that you are like a fresh bud,

I swept clean your path with my eyelashes,

But you have not visited me even once

O My Beloved Moon!

I am burning with your love!

I wish you would be like a New Year’s Gift

So I would see you at least once a year!


Falak Song of the South

 Halimov,  Musician:

Until then, I had never met Dawlatmand Khalov. When we arrived at his home, he was up to his ankles in hay and mud. He then washed his feet and we sat down and talked. He sang a few songs. I invited him to come the next morning to the House of Civilization so he came there. I asked him to sing me the "Charkh-o-Falak" song in the same manner that people sang it in the villages, and to sing it really loud. He did so and I could sense that his singing had echoes of songs sung in the mountains. I said: "That's it. This is what I want."


Rumi's Poem:

O My heart, sit only with those

Who know and understand a heart’s worth.

Sit only under a tree

That has fresh blossoms!

Not every sugar cane has sugar!

Not every ‘UP’ has a ‘DOWN’

Not every eye has a ‘vision’

Not every sea has a pearl


Laleh Taless, Composer and Musicologist

Dawlatmand Khalov has a really strong voice. Unlike other singers of Falak, he had a formal training. A wide range of people got to know him and he performs on stage. He also has a master. His master is Adineh Hashemov. Moreover, what separates him from other singers is that he has advanced musical knowledge. He has studied at the School of Art. That is why he creates a synthesis of Falak with contemporary music. He even performs it with a symphonic orchestra with a chorus. He creates a synthesis of traditional art and today's music.

 [inside Gorminj museum:]

[Badakhshan's Folkloric Poem:]

Ill-wishers of others will never achieve their aim

For whatever evil you commit, you will suffer evil yourself,

I want only good for you while you want evil for me,

You will see no good in life and I will suffer no evil!

Asl-ed-Din Nizamov: Musicologist, Director of Tajik Composers’ Union

Today a great part of traditional music has been revived by the accomplished musician, Dawlatmand Khalov. Of course, this music with its novel form and style is accompanied by his own voice which is a rare voice compared to other vocalists. He has revived this type of traditional music which resonates with the past and was hidden for decades. For instance, during the reign of the Manghiti emirs in Bukhara and its vicinity, such music was not so common. This music was hidden in Khatlan and Badakhshan provinces and other mountainous provinces. However, in the twentieth century it was revived by many artists such as Ma'rouf Khajeh Bahadorov in Khojand, Adineh Hashemov in Khatlan and other genuine artists. Following these great masters, Dawlatmand Khalov in turn revived other forms of this tradition.

[ On archive footage:]

Folkloric poem from Koulab Province:

.... O By God and His Messenger,

Accept the Prayer of Mine,

I, Your Humblest Creature!

Music is a conservative art; it evolves by small increments through history. But when a genuine musician approaches music, he definitely makes changes in the style of the lyrics, changes the songs as well as the performance of old rhythms. This is what Dawlatmand has done with performance of Falak. He utilized the Falak tradition, its rhythm, and changed them. The basis of Falak is folkloric quatrains , but he introduced Persian mystical poems in Falak. As a matter of fact, one can credit him with reviving the performance of Rumi's poems in Tajikistan.

[ in the Charkhi’s shrine and mosque:]

Rumi's Poem

O Caravan Leader!

See the camels in one row, all drunk!

The Master is drunk, the Servant is drunk!

The Beloved is drunk!

So are those alien to Love!

[ On the voiceover by Asl-ed-Din Nezamov:]

The core of Sufi teachings deals with the human being and his inner world, his good intentions and the improvement of man's lot. Generally our classical poetry abounds in mystical teachings. Even during the Soviet era, the classical Sufi poems were published. But perhaps the people did not always understand their concepts. However, a time came when they started concentrating on the content rather than the form of the poems.

Then came a time when a singer like Dawlatmand appeared who sought mystical values in our classical literature and eventually presented them.

In fact, this was a movement in music and other creative arts in Tajikistan which became prevalent in the late seventies and eighties. This led to further attention to self-discovery and more concentration on the human condition. It was this movement that manifested itself in the Dawlatmand’s efforts to revive the traditional Sufi music.


Under the Big Trees

 Mervigi Song of Bukhara:

I am totally astounded

Here Comes the Queen of All the Beautiful Women!

Behold her body and gait, Behold her beauty

Here Comes the Queen of All Beautiful Women!

 [Dushanbe's Song by Afzal-shah:]

Whoever Drinks from Dushanbe's River

Will forget the myth and story of Zamzam

O Dushanbe!

Every alley in you is the path to love and youthfulness,

All cities are mesmerized by your ambience!


Afzal-Shah, Singer

I and Dawlatmand were together on a trip to Iran. We both sang, and other Tajik master-singers also appeared on the stage and sang. But people showed more interest in  Dawlatmand.

A true man is a person who aspires to the sublime art and song. It is a fact that the genuine Tajik song nowadays manifests itself in the works of Dawlatmand. Dawlatmand is an artist who, after Adineh Hashemov, developed his own peculiar style in Tajik music, especially in the music of southern Tajikistan, the music in Koulab and the province of Khatlan.

He has devised new styles. Today there are many differences between the Six-Maqam which is the music of Northern Tajikistan with the music of the South, i.e., Khatlan. In the past the northerners were not greatly interested in the music of the south, but Dawlatmand sings in such a way that even the northerners like to listen to him.

This instrument has [its own] secrets. Today the person who has discovered and knows all these secrets, and who knows and performs these tunes, is our true artist, Dawlatmand.

Obayd Rajab:

Aside from all this, Dawlatmand is a good instrumentalist. He plays all the popular and professional instruments very well. He can play all the musical instruments [in Tajikistan] without exception.

Some may think that he is a show-off, but that is not true. He can play the instruments really well.

If an orchestra member is not able to play a certain song with Qijak or Do-Tar, or if a musician makes a mistake while playing a flute, a clarinet, or violin, Dawlatmand takes their instrument straight away and shows them how the song should be played.


Towards the South


I began as an architect. I studied at College of Architecture and later became an architect. Then I received a prize in one of the exams administered in the Tajik republic. Then Master Karim Halimov and the late Master Majidov suggested that I should also finish my studies at the Professional College of Music.

When I was young, I loved to sing while I was riding a horse or a donkey to the field, while taking my father's lunch to him and sometimes while I brought the hay back. I loved to sing Falak. I was a little kid when I started singing Falak and my father would always ask me to sing Falak.

I loved it because when I sang while passing through mountains, I could hear the echo of my Falak. It was as if the mountains were responding to me.

Now I feel that the nature itself is an artist too. When nature loves you, it will accompany you in your songs.

You may want to know how I learned the art and knowledge of music. My father was a serious musician and man of letters. My father's friends used to visit our house, and they used to discuss and debate classical literature. We were kids and were not allowed in their room. Then the musicians would arrive and would play. We could only sit outside the room and listen. One of the newspapers once asked me when and how I received my education in music. I said I started from the time I was a kid. I was in the first grade when my father was holding those meetings at home.   


Question: Mr. Dawlatmand, these young men that you take along, and whom you said are your pupils. What sort of instruments do they play? Do they play traditional instruments or do they play new instruments such as synthesizers?


Answer: These young men are my children, my pupils and my brothers. Essentially we perform traditional music. I am honored to do this service. I want our folkloric music and traditional instruments to survive. We use European instruments too, but we are mostly using traditional instruments and folkloric, classical and traditional music. I will then complement it with modern instruments. In other words, I mix them together and make a synthesis to give it a modern form. But the foundations of all my works are the traditional instruments and Tajik music.


Question: What is your favorite wedding song?

Answer: In wedding ceremonies, I find a number of things quite interesting. For instance, when they prepare the groom (or what we call the New King) to go to the house of the bridegroom, everybody is happy. Everybody feels like a king. "Here comes my king! Here comes my 'New King'!" That is because he feels like a king.  There are couplets that say: "The king has gone to hunt,

 riding on the gilded throne".

 Question: How are they sung?

Answer: The songs are folkloric pieces. They do not have complicated notes, but when you hear it performed, you think that it is quite a complete work. (Dawlatmand sings) "Here comes my king! Here comes my 'New King'!" The lyrics themselves say what the ceremony is all about.

 Question: When do you write your songs?

Answer: When I am traveling, or during the holidays when I work on the land. The best time for writing my songs is when I am in the orchard, in the foothills of the mountains, and when I am working on the land during the holidays.


My Little King Is on His Throne

There are certain couplets written for the occasion when the 'King-Child' accedes to the throne, which express all parents’ wish that their children would someday become kings.

As the folkloric [song] says:

"My king is on the throne;

he sits on the gilded throne;

he wears a new turban on his head,

with a kingly posture.”

- then the chorus sings...

- Could you sing for us?

(Dawlatmand sings)

My king is on the throne...


[Dawlatmand plays violin:]

.. in the hope that when old age cometh, the son will be on the father's side...

 Then the chorus sings again. Then I sing:

"Had I known you were coming,

My king is on the throne,

I would have scattered petals where you tread,

My king is on the throne.”


Family Ensemble

 Question: What role did you play in forming "the family ensemble"? Was that your idea or Dawlatmand's idea?

 Nazar Ali, Dawlatmand's Elder Brother

 Answer: We have inherited this family ensemble from our father and grandfather. It began before us and has been bequeathed to us.

In 1959, I became very much interested in the art of singing. I practiced a lot and sang folkloric songs. Then Dawlatmand, four or five years after me, was practicing with me. He learned the art of singing and became a singer. My other brothers Nourollah and Saeed and others learned how to sing. Then in the family ensemble, we were all singing and playing the instruments together.

- How many people are in this group?

- About 30 people.

- Are they all your brothers and sons?

- They are our brothers, sons and nephews. For instance, the one who played the drum was my older son.

 - Is there any girl in your family who plays a part in the ensemble?

Nourollah, Dawlatmand’s brother

- Yes. There are. My daughters and the daughters of Dawlatmand, Sayfollah and Nazarali are in the ensemble. The daughters help in the family ensemble. They dance. When we perform, they perform theatrical pieces.

[On the archive footage:]

- Who will inherit this family ensemble after you?

- We hope that, with the Grace of God, it will be continued by our sons and our great grandchildren who will all become performers. I hope they will keep it alive. As we have received this legacy, they will pass it on to their children. This is a family tradition.


Whoever Hurts Us, May God Be Kind to Them

 - This is the tomb of His Eminence Mir Seyyed Ali Hamedani which has been here for centuries.

 (Dawlatmand says hello to the old man)

-- Is that you, Dawlatmand?

-- Yes.

-- One of my children is just like you when you were a child. I watch television just to hear you sing. I love to hear your songs.

-- Let us offer a prayer as we have come on a pilgrimage.

 (Recitation of the Qur'an)


[Inside the shrine:]

Poem by Hamedani:

Whoever reminisced about us,

May the Lord be his friend.

Whoever humiliated us,

May the Lord prolong his life.

Whoever threw thorns in our path,

May the Lord remove the thistles

from the flowers of his garden.

We have no disputes with anyone

in the whole world.

Whoever disturbs us,

May the Lord give him serenity.


Falak: Natural Opera

Golchehreh sings

[Solo playing and song:]


Popular song of Koulab:

O Mother you are the source of all people, young and old,

O Mother you are the source of all Being,

Without your existence, the world would have no soul

O Mother the world owes its existence to you!


If someone sings Falak in his youth, if he reaches the age of 70, 80 or even 100, he can still sing Falak. Falak is one of the sources of the operatic style in the world. How do I know this? I know it because whenever Tajik opera singers have a difficult operatic work to perform, they invite me. Sister Golchehreh knows this....

In opera, we know that the range of a singer’s voice which we call “diapason” is more than two octaves. But I can perform those works without any problem. Later I realized, and even wrote in my papers, that Falak is the natural opera.

There are two families in Khatlan province, and I guess in all of Tajikistan, who sing Falak: The Khalov singers and the Arezouyev singers. Lady Golchehreh is from the Arezouyev family. There is no other family ensemble.


(Golchehre sings)

What they sang in praise of "mother" is a song which has been handed down from generation to generation. Maybe there are other women who sing Falak, but no one can perform a song like Lady Golchehreh. I have not heard of anyone, nor do I believe that there is anyone, who has the sincerity that Golchehreh has in her voice. She performs Falak in such a way that it finds its place in the heart of listeners. I have not heard this in the voice of anyone else. I have not heard a voice like hers.


I wish I could dance like this in the town square -- Rumi

 Show me thy face,

For I crave flowers and gardens.

Open your lips,

For I crave the taste of honey.

Come out from behind the clouds,

For I desire you bright sunny face…

 [Before the narration about the dance on the shot of  local musicians:]

One hand holding a cup of wine,

The other hand caressing the Beloved’s hair,

I wish I could dance like this in the town square!




When I was a kid, I would sit right here, right next to my father. Here we had a sour cherry tree that had delicious fruit. My father would tell me “go and pick some sour cherries for me.” I would pick the sour cherries and he was working in the yard, watering the trees. We were sitting right here.

But today my father is there. There, in front of us is the grave of my father. My mother, my paternal uncles and my grandfather too have been buried there. Their graves are across from village and across from their home. Such is life.

It was right here in this home when I started singing. A stream passes through this orchard; I used to sit near the stream and sing a song so that no one would hear me.

- But they would hear you.

- Yes, contrary to what I thought, they could hear me.

- I would go with my brothers to a mountain on the other side of this hill, where there is the Javabak (“echoing”) mountain.  I used to go there. I used to go to the waterfall too.

My father owned a mill. I used to go to the mill. The millstone has its own music. The axis has its own music and its wheel too has its own music.

Now I think because I was a child, in the beginning, I used to fall asleep as I was sitting next to the turning wheel of the mill. But later, to the music of mill, I would sing the two or three couplets that I knew. At that time, I had not started school yet. I was singing under the millstone that was making only one note.

Today from what I now know of music theory, I realize that this one note was the best thing that I could train with as a beginner.

 ( song of the Mazar :Yaad-e yaar)

Poem by Rudaki:

There comes the smell of the stream of Mouliyan. There comes the memory of the kind beloved

  [At the tomb of his father, he recites a poem written on the tombstone: ]

O Father! Standing over your tomb, my heart breaks!

With each breath I remember your sweet visage!

 (Dawlatmand sings:)

Popular poem:

May all the hearts and souls be sacrificed

for [only] one of the wishes of the  mother,

When the mother prays for the child,

the child's fate turns bright.

I have sung hundreds of poems

about being and not-being,

[because] my nature is imbued

with the passion and songs of my mother.

If the fast-sleeping world listens to me,

it is because of the lullabies of my mother.

 (Popular poem)

(Woman sings)

This lengthy corridor is where my mother walked to come and see me,

But now only the younger or older brothers come to see their sisters.

The people say that maternal aunt replaces the mother,

Do not fool me; Mother's love is entirely different.


Apple Tree Garden

(Popular Song: Morad-ali sings)

I will not exchange your face for  gold or jewelry.

I will not exchange your lips for  pearls and gems.

You wrote in your letter that "O Friend we have grown old!"

I will not exchange your old age for a hundred of virgins,

I have come so that I will see the smile on your face,

So that our lives will be filled with the sweetness of honey,

Whenever you step in our house,

All stones become pearls and rubies.

 Question: As an artist, which one of these two worlds do you like more and in which you create better?

Answer: You want the honest truth? I like the world in which I was born.

- A village world that is so beautiful!

- Yes, the same world in which I was born. That is, my father's home and village. I truly love it here. Of course, I also live in the city. The city is good. All places are good. But the most cherished place is my birthplace. 


What Dawlatmand sings and the voice that God Almighty has given him is extremely refreshing, sweet and powerful. That’s how I feel.

 [Poem from Layeq Shir Ali, the late contemporary Tajik poet:]

The Tajik people have their nest in the mountains,

The mountain has permeated their existence.

If Tajik means the one who wears a Taj ('crown'),

Then he wears his mountain like a crown on his head.