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Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

18 July 2013


Rishad Shafi (Rishad Alekseyevich Shafiev) was born on July 21, 1953 in Ashgabat, then part of the Soviet Union & now the capital & largest city of Turkmenistan. As a young boy he discovered drums & was never far from them throughout his life. He is most noted for his work with the Turkmeni group Gunesh.

The history of this renowned ensemble goes back to 1970. At first the group was a part of the State TV & Radio Company of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic. At its inception, it was a vocal group with supporting instruments. Later the composition of the group began to change as Shafi & some of his young friends joined it. The group began to play jazz-rock tightly intertwined with the Oriental tradition.

Gunesh was one of the first & arguably the best group to organically combine the similar principles of the melodious jazz improvisation with traditional Turkish mughams. Unexpectedly beautiful arrangements seemed to blossom with a life-force of their own, polyrhythmic compositions with odd measures were then further developed thematically.

The ensembles’ creative efforts finally received the recognition it deserved at the Moscow competition 'With a Song on the Life' in 1977, where the ensemble became a grand prize winner. Then in 1980, The Organising Committee of the Festival 'Spring Rhythms' in Tbilisi (Georgian capital) named Rishad Shafi the best drummer & Stanislav Morozov (also of Gunesh) the best saxophonist.

They released their first self-titled album in 1980 & then this release, Looking at the Earth, in 1984. Both of these albums sold out shortly after their release. Rishad Shafi was a crazed genius & the driving force, a mastermind behind Gunesh’s success. He died on November 4, 2009.

On Looking at the Earth, Gunesh are: Mikhail Loguntsov – guitar, copus & hitar; Oleg Korolev & Stepan Stepanyants – keyboards; Vakhid Rizaev – alto & soprano saxophone;  Stanislav Morozov – tenor saxophone; Yusif Aliev – trombone; Alexander Stasukevich & Shamil Kurmanov – trumpet; Hassan Mamedov – violin; Vladimir Belousov – bass; & Rishad Shafi – drums & percussion.

Gunesh Ensemble - Вижу Землю (Looking at the Earth), Мелодия C60 21197 007, 1984. 
decryption code in comments

Side A -
Байконур (Baikonur Cosmodrome)
Бу Дерды (The Pain of Loss)
Восточный Экспресс (The Oriental Express)

Side B -
Ритмы Кавказа (Rhythms of the Caucasus)
Ветер С Берегов Ганга (Wind from the Gang River)
Вьетнамские Фрески (Vietnamese Frescoes)



  1. JpNjEljS-bv9RBg3DO4gpQEn5iwlqGoN5NMvFSSPSEs

  2. Thank You ...Thank You ...Thank You ...

    1. You are the first to reply to this post. I wasn't sure if anyone was into this or not. It is WAY OUT THERE! For myself, it is one of numerous favorites this journey uncovered, but is certainly near the top of that list. It is truly unique & transcendent. Thanks for the comment.

  3. i am going in for this one.
    will check back after i listen