Ilham Aliyev attended a ceremony to unveil a statue of outstanding singer Bulbul

31 october 2012, 13:00

President Ilham Aliyev has attended a ceremony to unveil a statue of the outstanding opera singer, People’s Artist of the USSR Bulbul in the Bulbul Avenue in Baku.

Renowned representatives of Azerbaijan’s music community, foreign guests and family members of the singer warmly welcomed the head of state.

President Ilham Aliyev unveiled the statue.

The head of state laid flowers at the statue and addressed the ceremony.

Speech by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- Dear ladies and gentlemen!

Dear friends and guests!

It is a very important day in the life of our country today. We are gathered for the unveiling of a statue of the great son of the Azerbaijani people – Bulbul. I sincerely congratulate you on this wonderful event.

The Azerbaijani state and people have always revered the memory of our outstanding personalities. Clear evidence of that is the statues erected in honor of eminent personalities.

Bulbul was a great personality, a great master, the founder of Azerbaijan’s professional vocal art. The folk songs, mughams, classical opera roles that he sang form the golden fund of Azerbaijani music. Bulbul hasn’t been with us for over fifty years. But love for him still lives in the hearts of our people. This love clearly demonstrates recognition of his talent, his greatness.

Bulbul was a truly national singer, a national khanende, a national master. He was very patriotic. At the same time, Bulbul was a wonderful actor. The roles he played are still well remembered.

For many, the image of Koroglu is identified with Bulbul. The younger generation, the middle generation and, of course, the older generation, when thinking about Koroglu, always remember Bulbul. His performance of Koroglu was essentially the peak of his career as an opera singer.

As a citizen, as someone attached to Azerbaijani folk music, I want to share my thoughts about Bulbul’s activities. Indeed, it is impossible to forget his unique melodic voice. The songs he sang are immortal. It has been 50 years, another 50 or 100 years will pass, but the art of Bulbul, his unique voice will live and please all of us.

Bulbul was also a prominent public figure, a true Azerbaijani intellectual, a man attached to his people and national roots and, at the same time, open to the world. He promoted Azerbaijani music in the Soviet Union and beyond. In those years, art, music, singing, literature were the only means of promoting our nation in the world. Because Azerbaijan was not independent, and it was our outstanding artists who created an idea about the people of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani land in the world and in the Soviet Union. Bulbul’s role in this was enormous.

Bulbul’s name is dear to all of us. His name is immortalized in Azerbaijan. This avenue is named after him. Bulbul house museums were established in Shusha in 1982 and in Baku in 1983. A music school that bears his name has been in operation for many years. In 1997, on the order of great leader Heydar Aliyev, a special plan to mark the 100th birthday anniversary of Bulbul on state level was prepared and implemented. The international competition named after Bulbul has been held since then and its participants are among our guests today.

In 2007, a state plan of activities to mark Bulbul’s 110th birthday anniversary was prepared and implemented on my order. This year we mark the 115th anniversary. A statue has been erected in the center of Baku, next to his home. This, of course, shows the attitude of the Azerbaijani people and state to his memory, great respect for Azerbaijani culture, prominent personalities.

Bulbul was born in a beautiful part of our country, in Karabakh, in Shusha. The spectacular scenery, air, water springs, the beauty of Karabakh gave him the strength and inspiration. It was the richness and beauty of the Karabakh land that fueled his unique voice.

The city of Shusha where he was born has been under Armenian occupation for more than 20 years. The Armenians have implemented a policy of ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis. As a result, over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs in their native land. We have been subjected to genocide, the Khojaly genocide which is already officially recognized as an act genocide by three countries, and this process continues.

We have also been exposed to cultural genocide. Our religious, historical and cultural sites have been destroyed. These include the busts of Bulbul, Hurshidbanu Natavan, Uzeyir Hajibayli in Shusha, which have been riddled with Armenian bullets. The riddled busts are kept at the Art Museum. They are witness to Armenian vandalism. Bulbul’s home in Shusha is destroyed.

It is a great tragedy, a great sorrow. But I am sure that Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty. There are different factors that give reason to say so. Our strength and power are growing every year, our influence opportunities in the international arena are growing, the international community supports Azerbaijan’s just cause, international law supports the position of Azerbaijan. And, of course, our economic strength brings victory day closer. I am sure that we will soon be celebrating the Victory Day.

Of course, the entire world community seeks to resolve the issue peacefully. We are also in favor of that. But we are also ready for any scenario. We will never tolerate a second Armenian state on ancient Azerbaijani lands and will restore our territorial integrity by all means.

The statues of Bulbul, Natavan, Uzeyir Hajibayli will now be erected in Shusha. I am sure that we will participate in the unveiling of these statues, the national flag of Azerbaijan will fly in Khankandi and Shusha.

Dear friends, I congratulate you on this wonderful event again. I congratulate Bulbul’s family, his friends, the entire music community on this wonderful event, wish you good health and every success. Thank you.

Х Х Х

Then President Ilham Aliyev was photographed with members of Bulbul’s family and guests attending the ceremony. The head of state had a conversation with members of Bulbul’s family and people of art and culture attending the ceremony.

Х Х Х

The author of the bronze statue of the outstanding Azerbaijani musician whom the people have called Bulbul (nightingale) due to his extraordinarily melodic voice is sculptor Akif Asgarov. The erection of a statue of Bulbul is an important step towards preserving the national and spiritual values of our people.