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The New York Crimean Tatar Ensemble
Performance at the Ukranian Museum in New York City, May 15, 2010
The only band playing authentic, traditional Crimean Tatar music in the United States, The New York Crimean Tatar Ensemble has roots in both Simferopol, Crimea and Brooklyn. The ensemble was first established in Simferopol in 1990, when Nariman Asanov (violin), Eldar Ibraimov (keyboard), and Aziz Veliev (clarinet) met at the Tchaikovsky Music College. They immigrated to the United states in 1994, joining a Crimean community which had been present since the 1960s. Seeing exponential growth over the past 20 years, the Brooklyn community now numbers over 5,000, and is where Rustem Faizov (trumpet) and Lennur Mamutov (hand drum) joined Nariman, Elder and Aziz to complete the band. The Ensemble has been playing together since the mid 2000s, with the addition of Patrick Farrell (accordion) in 2010.
A jewel of the United State’s Crimean community, the Ensemble plays an inveterate role in upholding the distinct Crimean Tatar cultural tradition and identity. Vital to this community, the band plays public performances, weddings and other gatherings, and has played at Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University and The United Nations (to name just a few). They are also a cornerstone of the Crimean Cultural Center of the United States, located in Brooklyn. Alongside performances, the band supports the Center’s junior dance school, which teaches traditional dance and music to the young generation living in New York. No matter what occasion, The New York Crimean Tatar Ensemble gives a performance steeped in tradition and spirit.
"Kaba" featuring Nariman Asanov Accordion (violin) and Patrick Farrell (accordion)
"Suite of three tunes: Introduction to Dolu and Haytama" featuring full ensemble: Eldar Ibraimov (keyboard), Aziz Veliev (clarinet), Rustem Faizov (trumpet), Lennur Mamutov (hand drum), Patrick Farrell (accordion), and Nariman Asanov (violin)
ABOUT THE ENSEMBLE DIRECTOR:
The NY Crimean Tatar Ensemble is led by violinist Nariman Asanov, a leading exponent of the musical tradition of the Crimean Tatars. He was born in Almalik, Uzbekistan in 1973, the child of community activists who survived the Soviet’s mass deportation of Crimean Tatars to Central Asia in 1944.
Growing up in a large community-in-exile, he was inspired by a local village fiddler, as well as the late Enver Sherfedinov, a leading Crimean Rom violinist who frequently played on Uzbek television. In 1988, his family was able to return to Crimea, and he enrolled in the Tchaikovsky Music College in Simferopol, now the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in Ukraine. While there, Nariman became one of the first members of Ali Alimov’s Uchan-su Folk Ensemble, which takes its name from a famous waterfall near Yalta. Uchan-su toured the US in 1991 and in 1994, and at the end of the second visit Nariman decided to stay. He enrolled in the Music Conservatory at SUNY Purchase and graduated with a degree in violin performance.
Leading a band composed of a number of émigré alumni of Uchan-su and the Efsane Ensemble (including Efsane’s former musical director, the superb trumpeter Rustem Faizov), Nariman performs frequently for events at the American Association of Crimean Turks in Brooklyn, as well as at weddings and other family celebrations in the community.
The New York Crimean Tatar Ensemble is available for performances, concerts, workshops and dance parties. Click here to email CTMD Deputy Director Maureen Loughran for more information.
Edited for web by Bridgid Bergin, 2016. Videos and narrative by Chloe Accardi, 2015.