President Islam Karimov’s Keynote Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Tenth Sharq Taronalari International Music FestivalDear participants of the festival!
Ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, allow me from the bottom of my heart to congratulate you, my dear ones, participants of the Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival in the ancient and beautiful city of Samarkand with an almost three thousand-year history and culture, and in this magnificent and resplendent Registan Square which has witnessed so many great events.
I feel ever so happy on behalf of the people of Samarkand and of our entire nation to convey our warmest greetings and kind wishes to all participants of this truly rare and unique festival of music and art, by saying «Welcome to Uzbekistan! Welcome to Samarkand!»
It gives me a great pleasure to express my sincere respect to the honorable guests – the UNESCO Deputy Director-General Mr. Eric Falt, the Secretary-General of the International Organization of Folk Art Mr. Moon Hyung Suk, the President of the Japanese Min-On Concert Association Mr. Hiroyasu Kobayashi taking part in our festival and the representatives of diplomatic corps who are present at this opening ceremony.
Expressing my great delight in seeing the people of Samarkand, who are so precious to me, I would like again to extend my sonly love and esteem to my dear fellow townsmen and women.
Dear music lovers!
I believe no one can deny the idea that music is an immense divine power which constantly calls on us to kindness, awakens the tenderest and sincerest feelings in any person’s heart.
Indeed, it is truly difficult to find so potent a means like music which would bind the people of various countries and ethnic groups, languages and beliefs to one another without any translation and that which would unite them along the path of achieving common objectives.
This year it is the jubilee celebration – the Tenth Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival. I believe the following fact alone testifies to a lot: since founding of the festival in 1997 the geography of contributing nations has considerably expanded, and their number has increased twofold – from 31 to 66.
The participation of unique talents and celebrated music bands from dozens of countries of Asia and Africa, Europe and America, the East and West in this feast demonstrates brilliantly that during the past short period of time our contest has won fame throughout the world and its eminence and prestige has been growing ever since.
At the core of the aforementioned what stands out is, above all, the highest humanistic ideas of this festival. To be sure, it makes all of us happy that the phrase «the spirit and philosophy of Samarkand» with a deep meaning contributes to the ever consolidating ties of friendship among peoples, the ever advancing cultural dialogue as well as the preservation of the traditions of classical music.
We do know and highly value that this cause epitomizes primarily the devotion and selflessness of the true masters of art like you, those who have gathered in this venue, the commendable contribution of international organizations, UNESCO first and foremost, as well as the infinite services of our people who have been wholeheartedly supporting this forum.
In these days we feel as if in the ancient Samarkand, which stands as a symbol of the great Orient, the melody of centuries spreads from the immortal historical monuments, blue domes, sky-high minarets and grandeur portals which embody the spirit of the times. It seems as if the voices of the great thinkers, scientists and artists, who lived and created in this sacred land, are sounding here.
As we meet with you in Samarkand that opens up the indelible pages of the ancient history, the town which gained a widespread recognition as the Eternal City like Rome, we deeply feel how the time full of various troubles and challenges is now rapidly changing.
Along with this, we more clearly comprehend the necessity of closely learning the world of culture and arts which affords meaning and essence to our lives, of preserving peace and harmony in the planet, of cherishing this beautiful life and enjoying the cultural wealth of our peoples.
From this point of view, all of us are happy that during this glorious festival the ancient Samarkand – famous as the Splendor of the Earth – has been turning into, I daresay, the majesty of the world music art, into its peculiar and unique hub.
One of the popular magazines published in the United States recently enlisted Samarkand as one of the fifty must-see cities in the world. This news was broadly spread through the world mass media, and I think you all are well informed about that.
However great and glorious this ancient city’s history has been, its contemporary life is, as you see, as vibrant as ever, and its modern appearance is superb – in harmony with its past.
I believe that during the days of festival, while visiting the ancient sites, squares, boulevards and prosperous mahallas of our city, and talking to experienced, open-hearted, brave and good-natured people of this land, who carefully preserve their customs, traditions and values, you will be surely convinced of this by yourselves.
I won’t be mistaken to confirm that enjoying the hospitality of the people of Samarkand you will be charmed by this legendary city for the rest of your lives. Sincere conversations with the residents of our country, who love arts from the bottom of their hearts, will serve as a source of inspiration for the new creative works.
We welcome and honor you not only as our respected guests, but also as envoys of peace and friendship who express the soul and spirit of your peoples through music, who convey their kind dreams, aspirations and greetings, and as our closest and dearest friends.
Your charming music, songs and melodies that will sound on this sublime stage will remain in the hearts and minds of every one of us for a long time. It is a great honor to me to express a profound gratitude to all of you and say rahmat – thank you – in the Uzbek way, for giving your precious time and granting us these wonderful pieces of art and blissful moments.
My dears, from this high rostrum I once again express my deep respect and esteem to all of you and wish you a sound health, happiness, the best of luck and every success in this festival.
Thank you for your attention.