Aaron in Azerbaijan

Just another blog about Azerbaijan.

Meyxana: Lyrics On the Fly

with 2 comments

Since we talked briefly about one of the traditional music stylings of Azerbaijan here, I thought I’d also bring up a second popular form of singing in Azerbaijan: Meyxana (May-khana). This is again an area where I don’t have a whole lot of interest, but the style is interesting and it carries a lot of traditional cultural value here in Azerbaijan.

From my understanding, meyxana is an impromptu rhythmic verse consisting of rhyming triplets. Here in Azerbaijan, you can turn on any of the local TV stations and you’re likely to come across a program where five guys are sitting in overstuffed chairs, passing around a mic as they improvise the lines. If you’re a PCV living with a host family, you might get treated to an evening of meyxana when your host father’s friends come over (this was the case for our PCV, Mason, when he was in Lerik). The songs are made up as you go and can be about anything; improvising disparaging, satirical, playful verses about your fellow meyxana singers is definitely encouraged. Think of yourself as the court jester composing triplet rhymes on the fly.

A 1996 article in Azerbaijan International tells us about how meyxana was forbidden during the Soviet period:

It used to be that whenever people performed publicly, the police would interrupt and dismiss the crowd. Children or teenagers risked getting whacked by their teachers for saying them and, in turn, that made parents forbid their children from letting them involved, too-not because they considered meykhana shameful. Instead of being proud that their children were so talented, parents cowered, fearing that such intelligence would get them into trouble. But who could prevent two or three young boys sitting under a fig tree in a corner of a country garden reciting them?

I can’t get the video player to embed here, so you’ll just have to trust me and click here to check out a neat news story about meyxana.


Written by Aaron

July 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I wrote a good deal about Meykhana… see here: http://vladicravich.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/meykhana/

    vladic ravich

    July 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm

  2. When I was an undergraduate student, I knew two girls who could [and did] improvise pornographic poetry in that form. I don’t think they called it Meyxana though!


    July 18, 2011 at 4:59 am

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