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Sevara Nazarkhan

Sevara Nazarkhan is an Uzbek pop star who stands out for her expert handling of not only contemporary styles but Central Asian folk music as well. Her mastery and use of the Uzbek doutar (a two-stringed plucked shepherd's instrument dating back to the 15th century) establishes Nazarkhan as an accomplished world musician as well as a pop sensation. Sevara was brought up by two musically accomplished parents, her father a classically trained vocalist and her mother a music educator well-versed on string instruments. Sevara spent five years studying Uzbek folk music at the Tashkent State Conservatory between 1998 and 2003. During that time she performed with a variety of local groups, amassing something of a cult following. Her original compositions were a hit throughout Uzbekistan's underground urban culture, heard on local radio and illegal mixtapes. Nazarkhan's debut recording was released by the Calabash label. The self-produced record, entitled Gozal Dema, earned her a BBC World Music Award and an international reputation. The world music festival circuit opened up, leading to international performances and widespread recognition throughout Europe. Her appearance at the WOMAD festival in 2000 introduced her music to world music mogul Peter Gabriel, who signed her to his Real World label for a 2003 release, Yol Bolsin. Her seamless integration of ancient instrumentation and repertoire with modern technology and aesthetics caught the attention of listeners worldwide. A second record for Calabash continued to develop the artist's split personality, trading turntables for oud and tambour. Nazarkhan resharpened her urban edge for her Real World follow-up release, Sen, which hit shelves in 2007 and went directly the top of World Music Charts Europe. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez
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