Al-Mahdi by Masguda Shamsutdinova
The basis of culture of Kazan Tatars is the culture of their ancestors.
In the VII-VIII centuries A.D. the majority of population from disintegrated Great Bulgar, which was situated near the Sea of Azov, moved to the regions of the Middle Volga and there created the new state under the name of “Idel Bulgari” (Bulgar on Volga). That state became a center of trade between the West and the East; the famous Bulgar’s fair “Aga-Bazar”was receiving the merchant caravans from the different lands. Those caravans were accompanied by chroniclers, scholars, musicians, who enriched the Bulgar’s culture, including the music.
Later the invasions of Mongols and the troops of Russian princes led to the distraction of the towns. After campaign of 1431 set up by Fiodar Piostry, Idel Bulgari was not to recover anymore: the Bulgar town fell into decay and Bulgars were force to found another capital, which was decided to be Kazan.
From twenties of XX th century it is beginning the gradual disappearance of the national culture of Bulgars-Tatars. This process is taking place in the cultural life of the other nations of our country as well, so nowadays the problem of preservation and moreover further development of national folk traditions appears to be extremely urgent for all the nations.
“Al-Mahdi” of Masguda Shamsutdinova contains the call to save the national roots. (Al-Mahdi is the man, following the pious true way of life and leading people to the just and bright world). In the folk Tatar songs and prayers of the great monument of the world culture – the Koran – are presenting the connection and continuity of the culture. Nowadays the wisdom of the ancient culture, it’s spirit has become actual and as the breath of fresh air.
The poetic plot of “Al-Mahdi” is tracing not only the history of Tatars, but of the whole humanity. The eclecticism of the musical styles has not ruins the integrity of the composition, for the Moslem prayers, the meditation songs, the mixture of “cosmic” electronic sounds and the sounds of the Earth, the authentic Chinese, Indian, Arabic tunes, the classical music, rock-music and even “heavy-metal» are joined within the clear outline of this musical work, its idea basis. The central idea of “Al-Mahdi” is the comprehension of the well-known chain of existence – Man – Mankind – Universe – with all its contradictions from Genesis to Nowadays.