Nur-Sultan [Kazakhstan], May 4 (ANI): Marking the 100th anniversary of pop and opera singer Roza Baglanova in the UNESCO list of anniversaries for 2022-2023, the cultural organ of the United Nations (UN) paid a fitting tribute to the legacy of the artist known as the “little Kazakh girl” to her people.
Born in an affluent and connected family in 1922, Baglanova learnt the art of singing from her grandmother Kundei, who was herself musically gifted and played the accordion, Astana Times reported.
Despite the affluence, Baglanova’s family had to suffer mass hunger in the 1930s Soviet Union, and soon after World War 2 began.
Baglanova moved to Tashkent and in 1941 joined the Uzbek State Women’s Song and Dance Ensemble.
A colleague of hers noted that she was not just an ordinary singer, but maintained the spirit of the soldiers at the frontline, the report said.
An anecdote goes that she was once asked by a young military officer to not sing loudly as the enemy could start to shoot more.
Baglanova could sing for 10-12 hours despite the shells exploding around her. One day she was injured and almost lost her eyesight, the report said.
At the time of her injury, she first heard the song “What a town, Samara”, which became the most famous one in her repertoire, the report further said.
Baglanova went on to master the song so well that Lidia Ruslanova, a cult Russian folk singer who used to previously perform the song, recognized Baglanova as a better performer of her favourite masterpiece.
Following the end of the war, she worked in the Abai Kazakh state academic opera and ballet theatre, then in the Zhambyl National philharmonic hall, and in the Kazakhconcert state musical organization from 1960.
Baglanova’s singing career flourished in these years as she participated in the gala concert dedicated to the allied victory in Berlin on May 9, 1945, and played in the Soviet-Hungarian documentary film “Youth of the World.”
As a singer, Baglanova toured many countries, including Poland, Germany, Hungary, Austria, the US, Czechoslovakia, China, South Korea, India, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, and Burma.
While her music helped promote Kazakh folk music and the work of national composers, her repertoire also includes opera and folk songs from different countries and contemporary composers, demonstrating an effort to promote intercultural dialogue and the notion of shared heritage.
In 1955, Baglanova became People’s Artist of the Kazakh Soviet Republic, and 12 years later – People’s Artist of the USSR.
Throughout her lifetime, Baglanova was awarded numerous titles and awards for the popularization of Kazakh art, which testifies to her contribution to the promotion of culture and cultural diversity.
Baglanova passed away in 2011 at the age of 89 leaving a rich musical legacy behind.
Streets, avenues, and the country’s largest musical organization Kazakhconcert are named after Baglanova today, paying respect to the contribution the singer made to Kazakhstan’s national musical heritage. (ANI)