Raufal Mukhametzyanov: ‘The Voice finds the most talented singers, while we reshape Tatar song’

Tatar music festival Wind of Changes costs the republic 30 million rubles

Raufal Mukhametzyanov: ‘The Voice finds the most talented singers, while we reshape Tatar song’ Photo: Maksim Platonov

Organisers say the first unique Tatar music festival Wind of Changes takes place at the weekend at the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Musa Jalil. Leading Russian specialists worked on the form and content of the concert. Celebrated musicians will perform with artists on arrangements that are non-standard for the Tatar music. Realnoe Vremya tells why huge hopes are pinned on this festival, why people are planning to improve the level of the local pop-culture, the price of the pilot project and the reaction of the director of the theatre to questions about financing.

From folklore to show business

The first Tatar song festival called Uzgeresh zhile (Wind of Changes) is held at the Opera Theatre in Kazan on 5 and 6 November. 24 young artists who will perform two compositions in Tatar each accompanied by a symphony and jazz orchestra were chosen by experts. Rayaz Fasikhov, Alina Sharipzhanova, Yazilya Mukhametova, Aidar Suleimanov and others are among the participants. The full list is available on the page of the theatre.

Initially, it was supposed to organise a Tatar contest. In the end, it was decided to transform it into a festival.

The director of the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Musa Jalil Raufal Mukhametzyanov, who is also the producer general of the project, told about the festival much and in detail at a briefing dedicated to it. First of all, he remembered that Tatarstan's President Rustam Minnikhanov was the initiator of the event.

'I was surprised. When I expressed my point of view, Rustam Nurgalievich said: 'You will do it'. He said it very confidently, you know: 'I think everything will be fine'. But the surprise is one thing. Another thing is that it is necessary and one day it must happen,' told the director of the theatre.

According to him, Wind of Changes has already been called The Tatar Voice, but it is not. 'The Voice's goal is to find the most talented singers, while ours is to reshape Tatar song, affect its musical aesthetics based on modern artistic tendencies'.

24 young artists were chosen by experts

It is not the case of transformation of melody and texts of songs. Here we should be speaking about bringing a song to a certain stylistics, form and rhythmic organisation. In Mukhametzyanov's point of view, the Tatar pop culture deals with folklore, not show business.

'People often are confused and call everything pop. The thing is that there are clear limits in the world. There is folklore and show business. On our territory, mainly folklore is spread because the characteristics of show business are absent or have a primitive, simple form – in order not to offend people we are referring to.'

Mukhametzyanov noted the main task is to reshape [songs] from the positions existing in show business, mainly in Europe.

30 million for a new level of Tatar pop

Mukhametzyanov painfully reacted to questions about the money for the project. Nobody has named the numbers. An aide to President of Tatarstan Leyla Fazleyeva assured no rise in price was planned during the fulfilment of the project, and they would keep within budget.

There were tens of tenders for the Tatar festival on the page of State Procurements. The biggest of them costs 10 million rubles – for production of decorative elements, 751,688 rubles – for the creation of huge decorative drawings and sketches and author's supervision of their production and assembly. Director's work was estimated at 919,540 rubles, while teacher's work – at 425,532 rubles. 7,849,462 rubles were expended on payment of artists of the symphony and jazz orchestra under Vadim Eilenkrig, 3,069,755 rubles were spent on the creation of decorative lighting, which is needed to make the director's artistic concept real, and 2,290,000 were given for the creation of sheet music.

Production of decorative elements costs 10 million rubles

Apart from it, 2,4 million rubles were spent on costumes and shoes, over 400,000 rubles were expended on arranger's services and 869,000 – on tutoring performers in the arrangements. Almost 320,000 rubles were paid for the music of the concert. The same amount of money was given to pay artist's job on the lighting. These are not all the costs shown on the page of State Procurements.

By easy calculations, the project costs the organisers about 30 million rubles.

Tatar songs in the style of psychedelic, ethnic music and rock ballads

The music director of the concert Vadim Eilenkrig, who is a virtuoso trumpeter and band leader, teacher and TV presenter, told that at first he was surprised by Mukhametzyanov's participation in the organisation of the festival. He even asked him why the director of Opera and Ballet Theatre who had no direct relationship with show business did this job.

'He is a person who created a technology. He understood it all. The dimension of his mind astonished me at once. He is an absolutely open and emotional person in addition to the magnitude of his mind and technology compliance.'

The musician certainly liked the director's long and expressive speech about the festival in front of the journalists. And he noticed that it explained his identity and the success of the project.

Vadim Eilenkrig says performances of the Tatar artists will be quite diverse: compositions in the style of rock ballads, latino, ethnic and even psychedelic music. 'We tried to show Tatar song in the greatest variety of genres. I can't say how many genres we managed to cover because each arrangement is unique. We don't have two stylistically identical arrangements.'

Vadim Eilenkrig says performances of the Tatar artists will be quite diverse

The scale of the upcoming festival can be called impressive. First Deputy Minister of Culture of Tatarstan Elvira Kamalova told about it in detail. Vadim Eilenkrig's 11-people band, a string section of 10 musicians of the Symphony Orchestra and three backing vocalists will create the accompaniment. Stanislav Kurbatsky will be the conductor.

In addition, a Russian internationally known bayan player Aidar Gainullin, arranger, dancers, vocal teachers Aleksey Korobkov and Ksenia Korobkova will participate in the project. The director is Yury Aleksandrov who is a worldwide well known artist who is famous for his plays at the Mariinsky Theatre, Metropolitan Opera, La Scala. Artist Viktor Gerasimenko whom the Kazan Opera also cooperates with in other projects was invited to decorate the stage. Ivan Vinogradov who worked in such projects as Dances with Stars, Song of the Year and Sergey Lazarev's TV show is the lighting designer.

Plans to launch audio recording, show on TV and make it international

Bayan player Aidar Gainullin thanked the director of the theatre for the invitation to participate in the festival that he accepted with pleasure. Then he noted he had Tatar leitmotivs in his performance in the world premiere in the Berlin Philharmonic. It amazed Germans. When the musician started to tell them about Tatarstan, it turned out they knew about it nothing but words that sounded similar: a French sauce tartar and steak tartar. He said the first festival Wind of Changes was experimental. It is planned to make it international and show the world what Tatarstan is.

Aidar Gainullin accepted the invitation to participate in the festival with pleasure

Answering a question of Realnoe Vremya, Mukhametzyanov told all tickets to the festival were already sold. It should be noted the sale kicked off in September. After concerts in Kazan, the festival is held in the Kremlin Palace on 4 December.

'If it all is accepted, Moscow will always participate in the projects with such a huge venue. Then we will finish all the artistic process only in January. All compositions will be recorded,' having predicted the question of the journalists, Mukhametzyanov told about further plans.

Vadim Eilenkrig added that 50 compositions would be recorded. A Moscow studio of Mosfilm is considered to be a place for recording. It was agreed that Roy Hendrickson who got several Grammies will re-record them. The whole concert will be recorded in HD quality and given to TNV channel for free. The recording will be shown by New Year.

The director of the theatre is forecasting that the Tatar pop culture will reach another level in 5 years of such work. Tatarstan President's Aide Leyla Fazleyeva also told about a great future of the project.

By Maria Gorozhaninova. Photo: tatar-inform.ru, rehearsal of the concert