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“Yalla,” the leading popular music group in the former Soviet central Asian republics, is from Tashkent — the capital of Uzbekistan, one of the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. The group, whose name is an Uzbek word for a song accompanied by dancing, has become a popular icon in Uzbekistan, frequently serving as cultural ambassadors to international festivals or meetings abroad.

The members of Yalla are graduates of the Ostrovsky Theatrical Art Institute and the Ashrafi State Conservatory in Tashkent. They are not Russian but Uzbek, a Turkic nationality from the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road. Their music incorporates traditional ethnic folk tunes and poetry of Uzbekistan and other Central Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, along with contemporary pop and dance influences, into a unique international blend. They perform songs in more than 10 languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Nepalese and French as well as Uzbek and Russian.

Formed in the early 1970’s, Yalla has appeared on Soviet national television as well as performing in Moscow and elsewhere in the Soviet Union, and on concert tours in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, including featured appearances at the “Voice of Asia” festival.

Members of Yalla:

Farrukh Zakirov, artistic director, composer, vocal
Rustam Iliasov, arranger, vocal, bass guitar
Abbos Aliyev, arranger, national instruments (tan-buzuk, rubab, ud), vocal, keyboards

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