Speech of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the jubilee of the founder of the professional vocal art of Azerbaijan Bulbul - December 4, 1997

Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen!

Highly guests!

I cordially congratulate you on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of great Bulbul and wish you successes for prosperity of the Azerbaijani culture and art.

The 100th jubilee of Bulbul is a great holiday for our people. We have gathered to the jubilee ceremony today. 1997 was almost the year of Bulbul and our people commemorating Bulbul everywhere, held solemn ceremonies connected with his jubilee. Holding the international competition dedicated to the vocal art named after Bulbul in the life of the independent Azerbaijan first time is the demonstration of respect to the memory of Bulbul and high level art of vocal art established in the art of Azerbaijan thanks to the efforts of Bulbul.

Bulbul is a remarkable and brilliant event in the culture of Azerbaijan. Bulbul, born in Karabakh, one of the beautiful corners of Azerbaijan, became a shining star of the Azerbaijani culture due to his outstanding talent. He is our national pride. Bulbul`s unique voice, extraordinary talent and self-sacrifice form the grounds of his art. Being the founder of a model of universal culture, Bulbul opened a number of successful ways for our people in this sphere.

Bulbul`s art is very rich. Our people has a great history of music culture. The folk music of Azerbaijan, songs and the Azerbaijani mughams are our national wealth which survived since the ancient times. Our people lived with these songs for centuries and Bulbul began his creative activity namely with these songs and mughams. But unlike his predecessors, Bulbul could raise our folk music, songs and mughams to the highest universal level and founded a professional vocal art on the basis of rich mughams and national music. Bulbul has rendered priceless services to the Azerbaijani people with all this and other spheres of his art.

The peak of Bulbul's art is his part of Koroglu in the opera of "Koroglu". The opera is also a masterpiece of prominent Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov and peak of his art. Bulbul assisted to the creation of this opera as much as Uzeyir Hajibeyov. One can suppose that if there was no Bulbul as a professional vocal master, then, perhaps it would be tough for Uzeyir Hajibeyov to create an ever-living opera as "Koroglu".

It is known that after witnessing the art of Bulbul, Uzeyir Hajibeyov stated that he could establish a national and professional opera then. The opera "Koroglu" is worth of high appreciation because of its perfectness opera and music, and it is the pride of our music. But at the same time, the opera of "Koroglu" assisted the establishment of national the thought of national patriotism, love of freedom and independence along with its influence to the art of opera and music of Azerbaijan.

It is known that Koroglu is our legendary hero. Koroglu is a great epos. This heroic epos not only belongs to Azerbaijan, but to all the people of the Central Asia, Caucasus, Turkey and Iran. Uzeyir Hajibeyov demonstrated the epos with the opera "Koroglu", the highest example of the culture, art and literature, expressed via verbal folk literature and different books. Today, we can dare say that Koroglu became extremely famous due to the opera "Koroglu" by Uzeyir Hajibeyov in which Koroglu was performed by great Bulbul. Perhaps, one can say that Koroglu was not known to our people and other peoples as well, until the opera "Koroglu", Bulbul`s Koroglu.

Uzeyir Hajibeyov put "Korolglu" to music and created his opera. But Bulbul created Koroglu. Naturally, none of us has seen Koroglu, and there was no image or portrait of Koroglu except the epos which came to us from the ancient times. It was necessary present to people Koroglu. It was done by Uzeyir Hajibeyov`s opera and Bulbul. When we see the opera and the upcoming generations see the image of Koroglu, in the person of Bulbul, then everybody imagines how Koroglu was. Now there are Koroglu`s images everywhere. They are Bulbul`s images, but in the image of Koroglu, in Koroglu's clothes, and monuments are erected to Koroglu. All this is the incarnation of the image created by Bulbul, and undoubtedly Uzeyir Hajibeyov along with the producers, artists. Koroglu on horseback on the scene of the Opera Theatre of Azerbaijan was Bulbul.

That is why I think that the services of Uzeyir Hajibeyov and Bulbul in the creation of the opera "Koroglu" are of greater importance than its music, art and cultural meaning. That is the reality of our history and we must evaluate the works concerning this sphere at the end of the 20th century.

We don`t have also the portrait of our great poet Mollah Panah Vagif. It was created by our great artist Alasgar Alakbarov who performed Samad Vurgun`s "Vagif" poem on the scene. That is why, all the images and monuments of Vagif derived from the image created by Alasgar Alakbarov together with producers and artists in the Theatre of Drama of Azerbaijan. The image of Koroglu incarnates from the image created by Bulbul, Uzeyir Hajibeyov, producers and artists. We must be thankful to the art of Bulbul, his creation for all this.

Undoubtedly, talking about the opera of "Koroglu" today, we must remember our great writer Mammad Said Ordubadi, who wrote the libretto of the opera with Huzeyir Hajibeyov, scholar Heydar Ismayilov, Ismayil Hidayatzade, the first and great producer of the opera of "Koroglu", and great artist Rustam Mustafayev.

Thus, dwelling on the work of "Koroglu" today, I want especially note the great contribution Bulbul rendered to the Azerbaijani people along with his other services.

Bulbul`s art, his charming and unique voice which has been recorded in the tapes and his great heritage are the national wealth of the Azerbaijani people. Bulbul has served to the present-day Azerbaijan with his art. Being inspired Bulbul today, in the 21st century, from the heroic deeds of Koroglu, which was created by Bulbul, we shall establish and build and develop the independent Azerbaijan.

Ms. Firangiz said quite right here that such works are written for one singer, one master, and others just repeat it. At the same time, it shows that if Uzeyir Hajibayov is the author of the opera of "Koroglu", then Bulbul is the author which changed it into music. That is why, undoubtedly, the opera of "Koroglu" will live forever, today and tomorrow, and our new and brilliant singers will appear and perform Koroglu following Bulbul`s way. But everybody will make efforts to sing as Bulbul. Because, it was Bulbul who created all the songs. If someone sings it in other way, then people will think that it is not Koroglu.

The composer composes music and the singer makes it a song. For example, Uzeyir Hajibeyov created immortal romances of "Sensiz" (without you), "Sevgili janan" (lovely sweetheart) motivated by the hazals of great Nizami Ganjavi. Bulbul performed them first. These romances are always sounded and performed by new singers. But everybody tries to sing as Bulbul and imitate his voice. These are great services rendered by Bulbul for our present-day life and future.

All the events connected with the 100th jubilee of Bulbul are worthy of his name and memory. I think that this tradition will continue. Bulbul will never be forgotten. Bulbul`s voice and works will live in our hearts forever.

I suppose that Bulbul`s soul is happy today. But at the same time, I think that Bulbul is concerned too. His concern is that his native Shusha, Katabakh is under occupation of the Armenian armed forces. That is why, Bulbul is concerned. We are concerned, too. But Bulbul must know and our people must know that the land of Karabakh, castle of Shusha which is precious for us, will be liberated from the occupation, Bulbul`s motherland will become a corner of prosperous Azerbaijan and the upcoming generations will erect the monument of Bulbul and Uzeyir Hajibeyov again and Shusha, Karabakh will live in the independent Azerbaijan.

Expressing all wishes and desires of the Azerbaijani people, their feelings, I declare that our love for Bulbul, for his art is forever and it will always be so. Bulbul, and his art will forever live in the heart of the Azerbaijani people.