31 March 1861|
Shusha, present-day Azerbaijan
|Died||20 April 1944
Jabbar Garyagdioglu or Garyaghdyoglu (Azerbaijani: Cabbar Qaryağdıoğlu pronounced [dʒɑpˈbɑɾ ɡɑɾjɑɣdɯoɣˈlu]) (March 31, 1861, Shusha – 20 April 1944, Baku) was an Azerbaijani folk singer (khananda). He is known as the first khananda to perform mughamats in the Azeri language.
Rise to prominence
He was born in the Seyidlar neighbourhood of Shusha to a family of a dyer. His stagename Garyagdioglu literally translates from Azeri as Son of Snow-Has-Fallen. According to an urban legend, Jabbar's father Meshadi Ismayil was an extremely reserved and taciturn man and as a result, would often be asked in an idiomatic way, common to Azeri: "Why are you so gloomy? Has the snow fallen?" Therefore he was nicknamed Garyagdi (Anglicisation of qar yağdı - "snow has fallen").
Despite his father's plans, Jabbar did not take up his business and decided to become a singer. His older brother, an amateur folk singer, played an important role in young Jabbar's passion for music. In 1871–1876 Garyagdioglu attended school where he took vocal lessons, studied the theory of music and the Persian language. While still in his teens, he was accepted into the ensemble of the notable musician Sadigjan. Until age 20, he performed primarily in his native Karabakh, but soon he became famous in other parts of the South Caucasus, and later would make tours to Iran and Central Asia.
In 1901, Garyagdioglu moved to the oil-booming Baku that at the time was rapidly becoming an important social and cultural city of the region. Together with Uzeyir Hajibeyov and other prominent musicians he founded a club in the Baku suburb of Balakhany and would give charity concerts to support the poor. Between 1906 and 1912 he visited Kiev, Moscow and Warsaw together with other Azeri khanandas, where a vinyl recording of his performance was made. On his way back from Warsaw, he and his ensemble gave a successful two-day Oriental concert in Moscow. Garyagdioglu mostly sang in Azeri and Persian, however some mughamats were performed in Georgian, Armenian, Uzbek, and Turkmen. For 20 years, he was accompanied by sazandas Gurban Pirimov (tar) and Sasha Ohanezashvili (kamancheh).
In 1916, he appeared in the Azeri film Neft va milyonlar saltanatinda ("In the Realm of Oil and Millions"). After Sovietization, he taught classical music at the Azerbaijan State Conservatoire and was the soloist of the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Society. During his long musical career, he collected and recorded around 500 folks songs and tunes, which became part of the conservatoire's record library.