Habil Mustafa oglu Aliyev's life was hard but interesting. He was born in the village of Uchqovaq in the Agdash region of the Azerbaijan Republic on May 28, 1927. At the age of 7, he started his seven years of primary education at school No. 3 in the center of the region. At that time, the famous singer and teacher of music, Ahmed Agdamsky (Ahmed Bashir oghlu Badalbeyli), was renting a room in Habil's house, where he was often visited by musicians who talked of mugham and tesnif and of the national music, sometimes playing the tar or kamancha. Little Habil listened with a child's interest to the music and the conversations he did not understand. But it was then that his love of art appeared, wafting day after day in his heart, encouraged by his mother, Nisa Khanum. As Habil Aliyev recalls, "I came to art thanks to two people. One of them is Ahmed Agdamsky and the other is my mother. Ahmed Agdamsky showed me what art is and my mother developed my love of it. I remember how, as a child, I used to rub a ladle against a rolling-pin. My mother would watch and say joyfully,
'My son might become a kamancha player…'
Ahmed Agdamsky supported her,
'Yes, Nisa badji (sister), the boy wants to be a musician. Let him go to our music school. It'll be good for him.
My mother liked the idea and I went to the music school in Agdash. At first I displayed an interest in the tar, but as I was physically weak, my wrist couldn't cope and so I chose the kamancha. From then on my interest was captured and I spent much of my time with Kaman. I remember that it was in 1938 when an event to celebrate some occasion or other was held in our school. It was the first time I have performed in such an event. Everyone applauded me. That night, my mother and I were the happiest people alive. I even cried with happiness. Oh, my God, the happiness of that first step in art is so magnificent."
After completing the seventh grade and music school, Habil entered a pedagogical school. The horrors of the War, (the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945), were being felt especially strongly at that time and, along with so many, Habil's family suffered from hunger and poverty. His elder sister, Saida, moved in with her children, as her husband had gone to the front. The young Habil was the family's only hope for survival. Therefore, along with studying at the pedagogical school, he played the kamancha at the Agdash State Drama Theater of Najaf bey Vezirov in the evenings. At the same time, he was a member of the dance group in the Agdash Pioneer House, winning a showcase competition held in Baku in 1944; the contest was recorded on tape (.wmv, 2.21 MB), and is still held in the Central Archives.
Habil recalls: "Those were the days when the war was at its height. All my relatives, all our neighbors, men and boys, were at the front. My brother Mahammadiyya was also at the front. In the evenings I used to sit on the balcony and play the kamancha, without paying attention to anything around me. Then, without warning, I would hear the screams and cries of the women who had lost their husbands, sons and bridegrooms in the war melding with the sounds of the kamancha, some of them praying, others telling their lament in the words of the bayatis. Strange though it may seem, I couldn't weep at the time. I simply played. I shared my grief with the kamancha. And the grief of all the mothers and all the sisters accumulated in the strings of my kamancha.
It seemed as if, amid the cries of the mothers, I created new melodies which reflected the horrors of war. I think that my kamancha still holds those sounds and those screams… I should note that it was at that time that Yagub Mamedov came to Agdash with the tar player, Gulabli Hamid. And I joined them. I also went to Ismayilli with them. We played at two or three wedding parties and I earned something to take home with me. Then my ordinary life continued. I was constantly thinking about what work I should take up, about what would interest me. But I couldn't find the answer.
The war ended. The husband of my elder sister returned and they moved to the Mezreli village of Imishli. I also took my kamancha and went with them. People were overfilled with joy. The word "wedding" became usual for all again. The wedding parties were held to the accompaniment of a group conducted by the local ashug Hasanli. The group listened to my music and allowed me to join it.
I sent money which I earned to my mother in Agdash. I spent so much time playing at home that my relatives were sick and tired of it… Thus, I could not stay in Mezreli any longer and returned to Agdash in 1947".
In 1952 Habil Aliyev came to Baku and entered the kamancha faculty of the secondary professional Music School of Asef Zeynalli. He started to learn the secrets of mugham art from the prominent player of tar Qurban Pirimov and famous singer Khan Shushinski. Habil's talent was also noticed by composer Soltan Hajibeyov. The composer, taking into account the potential abilities of Habil, recommended him to work in the Philharmonic Society. At that time the director of the Philharmonic Society Shamsi Bedelbeyli, the art director Soltan Hajibeyov, Niyazi, and Said Rustamov listened to a mugham and a national song, performed by Habil, which satisfied them greatly. Thus, in 1953 he started accompanying a dance ensemble and then playing kamancha within a trio band in the State Philharmonic Society of Azerbaijan. Habil Aliyev, who accompanied the concerts of such prominent figures as Seyid Shushinski, Heqiqet Rzayeva, Khan Shushinski, Zulfu Adigozelov, Mutallim Mutallimov, Shovket Alekperova, Sara Qedimov and Fatma Mehraliyeva , benefited by their immortal heritage and worked more, not getting tired of hours of trainings.
Habil Aliyev's first TV concert took place in 1961. The Segah, performed with a new technique, caused wide discussions among music fans. The next day, the prominent musicians Khan Shushinski and Zulfu Adigozelov congratulated him whole-heartedly.
Habil breathed a new life into the mughams Segah, Bahati-Qachar, Bestenigar, Bayati-Shiraz, Rahab, Bayati-Kurd, Djahargah, Rast and Zabul. Thus, in the late 1950s-early 1960s Bilal Aliyev developed as a unique master of kamancha and became popular among the people. The connoisseurs of music often compared the masterly playing of Habil Aliyev with Niccolo Paqanini's performance.
The concert of Azeri masters of art was once held in frames of the days of our country in Great Britain. It took place in the salon of the great Mazerverlle palace, full of spectators, near the Glasgow city. At that night, such world famous art figures as Rashid Behbudov, Muslum Maqomayev and Tamara Sinyavskaya were the "rivals" of kamancha. After the concert, during a reception in the municipal department of Glasgow city, the English musicians, the Harrison couple, called Habil Aliyev's performance the soul of the program and raised their glasses to the Paqanini of Azerbaijan, which surprised all participants.
Along with master performances, the artist is also the author of wonderful songs. Over 15 songs, which he created, are still performed with love by famous musicians of the contemporary world. The compact disks with Habil Aliyev's Azeri mughams and national songs was also produced in such big countries as the USA, France, Japan, Italy and Greece.
Habil Aliyev has been on tour in the former USSR states as well as in a number of other countries including Turkey, the USA, Germany, England, France, India, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Switzerland, Holland, Tunis, Japan, Syria, Mozambique and others.
For his contribution in art Habil Aliyev received the honorary title of the Honored Artist on June 29, 1964 and the Popular Artist on January 11, 1978. He was awarded with various state awards and medals, state signs and honorary orders more than once. He receives the Individual pension of the President of the country.
Different poets devoted poems to Habil Aliyev, artists painted his tableaus, sculptors created his busts, carpet-makers wove carpets with the musician's portrait and writers wrote books about him. The world known symphonic work Habilsayaghi, which the famous composer Firengiz Alizade devoted to the prominent artist, gained success in the great concert palaces of a number of countries. A number of documentary films (.wmb, 4.61 MB) and feature stories were also shot about Habil Aliyev.
Habil Aliyev set a happy family with Sharqiyya khanum in 1954. He has three daughters, a son and eight grandchildren.
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