The London Uyghur Ensemble (LUE) is a London-based group playing traditional and popular music of the Central Asian Uyghurs. Our group includes Uyghur musicians from the Uyghur homeland - East Turkistan (the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China) and from the Uyghur diaspora in Kyrgyzstan, in collaboration with professional British musicians. Our repertoire includes instrumental pieces, dance, composed and traditional songs, and the classical ‘Twelve Muqam’ suites. Since the group was established in 2004‚ we have worked hard to build our repertoire and profile. Some of our musicians and associates came to the UK as refugees‚ and we made our debut at the London South Bank ‘Sanctuary’ festival for refugee music in 2005. Since the group was established in 2004‚ we have worked hard to build our repertoire and profile. Some of our musicians and associates came to the UK as refugees‚ and we made our debut at the London South Bank ‘Sanctuary’ festival for refugee music in 2005. We have played in many venues around London including St Ethelburgas Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, the Diaspora London Music Village, SOAS World Music concert series, and the Islington Folk Club. Gigs around the UK include Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester, and the Sidmouth folk festival in Devon. Outside the UK we have performed at the Forde Folk festival in Norway, and the Taipei Silk Road festival in Taiwan. Click here for more details... read more >>
♦ Who are the Uyghurs?
The Uyghur (also spelled Uighur) is one of the Turkic ethnic groups living in the northwestern region of the present China. The official Chinese name of the region is Xinjiang (or Sinkiang) Uyghur Autonomous Region but the native Uyghurs have historically called their country or this region either Eastern Turkistan (Uyghuristan). The Uyghurs might be introduced as one of China´s less well-known though more numerous minority nationalities (compared to, say, the Tibetans or the Mongols), or alternately as the only one of the Central Asian nationalities (alongside the Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajik and Turkmen) who do not possess their own independent nation state. As in the better-known situation in Tibet, the relationship between Uyghur nationality and the Chinese state during the nearly 60 years of rule by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) has been marked by tension and sometimes violence....
read more >>
♦ Uyghur Music
The Uyghur Muqam are large-scale suites consisting of sung poetry, stories, dance tunes and instrumental sections. Some of the lyrics of the Muqam are drawn from the great Central Asian Chagatay poets, Nawayi, Shah Meshrep, Fuzuli, Mulla Belil and Zelil. Some are drawn from folk poetry, especially the popular tale of the lovers Gherip and Senem. Much of the poetry is linked to the imagery and ideals of the Sufis. The Muqam are typically performed by a small ensemble of singers, led by the lead singer muqamchi, accompanied by plucked or bowed lutes and dap frame drum, but they may also be played in instrumental form... read more >>
♦ The story behind London's Kashgar Road
If one of London´s Uyghurs happens to be looking through London´s A to Z street map and stumbles upon the entry: Kashgar Road, it is with a shock of recognition. For London´s Uyghurs, used to the daily routine of explaining to the British who the Uyghurs are and where they come from, it is extraordinary to find that one of their major cities has lent its name to a London street. How did this come about? The city of Kashgar is situated in distant Asia, today a little known city, it was a capital of the Uyghur Qarakhan Kingdom in the 11th century and a political and cultural centre for the Central Asian Uyghurs. Kashgar means in the Uyghur Turkic language: the city at the river bank (Zerepshan river) and its geographical location is between the eastern foothills of the Pamir-Karakorum mountain range and the west edge of the Taklamakan desert, and its present position on the political map is within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Northwest China. read more >>
♦ The Uyghur Music Industry
"The Guest" (mehman)
I invited a guest into my home
Asked him to sit in the place of honor
But my guest never left
Now he´s made my home his own ...
-sung by Omerjan Alim
The storyof the exiled Uyghur singer Kuresh Kusen (deceased) was posted on the Internet in early 1999. Kuresh Kusen is a singer and recording artist who performs on the Uyghur dutar or two-stringed lute. He played numerous concerts in towns around Xinjiang during the 1980s and early 1990s, and owned a small independent theatre in Urumchi. He has released several cassettes of original solo compositions. Kuresh´s political problems began in 1994 when he released his fourth cassette. One song in particular attracted the attention of the censor. "Don´t sell your land," he sang, "it has been yours for generations... read more >>