Samarkand 2009

Trip Highlights


The trip was long-planned. It was a single hurried pace day and there was much to see.

We had a local guide recommended by our taxi driver. Getting around the city for the day was our plan and the local drivers are unfailingly available. I believe our guide was a relative of his.



Mohina was our guide for the day.  She was a student in Samarkand.






She was eager to point out various cultural treasure of this amazing city.



Our Driver – name is not remembered…

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It was as usual for such a fast-paced day a last minute race to the train station.

We stopped at a gift shop on our way tot he train station. Heree is Mohina wearing tradition Uzbek head-wear.

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All in all a really wonderful visit to a world heritage gem of a city. But it was time to return to Tashkent. Our tour guide boarded the tran to inform us that our tip was insufficient. And of course since she came all that way to tell us we capitualted and paid her an additional tip!







Come Home Lyalya

The Lens Universe

The Lensman Saga

The time is past beyond comprehension. Two great civilizations are present in the First and Second Galaxies, which are colliding with each other over a period of many millions of years. Arisia in the First Galaxy and Eddore in the Second Galaxy have evolved over countless eons, while in complete ignorance of the other’s existence. Both species are highly advanced but Eddore (a race of beings so foul and noxious as to be incomprehensible to the mind of man) concentrated on never-ending conquest, always attempting to satisfy their insatiable lust for power. Arisia focused on the development of mind, eventually dissolving physical needs, due to lack of use or inclination, over millenia becoming beings of pure mind even before the galaxies began their collision. They roamed the galaxy learning the secrets of the physical universe until a time came when an Arisian mind encountered the mind of one Eddorian. This pivotal event sets the stage for the inevitable conflict, which, necessitates keeping Eddore ignorant of the existence of Arisia until such time when it is impossible for the Eddorians to fashion a weapon of power sufficient to defeat the forces working for harmony in the universe. The Arisian plan involves careful manipulation of blood lines throughout thousands of years of human history. Always they must preserve the lives and allow the breeding of two distinct lines, known off and on as Kinnison and MacDougall.
The great civilizations of Earth are portrayed against the interplay of these two ancient races, through the energized beings of flesh which they inhabit, in the form of some of the most memorable characters in the history of terrestrial civilization (though the humans involved know nothing of being “energized” by otherworldly beings). The rise and fall of Atlantis, Rome and Greece as world powers as well as other momentous epochs and dynasties, including the great wars of the 20th century, are portrayed as the main story line – to humanity at large. Human civilizations must be allowed to rise and fall (through Eddorian manipulation) as part of the Arisian vision of the Cosmic All, but the essential bloodlines are always preserved whether through circumstance or direct Arisian influence. Concurrently, within the span of Earth’s various ages of human habitation, a coincidental dynamic plays out between the various races and systems of the First Galaxy. Four planets in all are selected for blood line manilpultion to produce the initial four Second Stage Lensman.
Kinnison and MacDougall spawn the next phase of lensman. Their children, graced by the culmination of their ancestry, they did not require lenses for their superhuman powers, and would never receive assistance of the kind the Galactic Patrol had so depended on. In fact the latent and intentional abilities of the Kinnison / MacDougall children represent the final union of en rapport frequencies of unalloyed Love of the Universe – ultimately to spell cataclysmic defeat for the Eddorian menace.

Quantum Love

I am sure no one will say about me "They don't write 'em like that anymore"...but Faro you know what kind of inspiration you are to me... your talent and grace are amazing. It is an honor for me to put words to the page for this wonderful song.

Sevara Nazarkhan – interview from the Russian

Interview – Sevara Nazarhan

(loosely paraphrased from a machine translation by Lens Universe)

The Uzbek singer Sevara Nazarhan invited us to meet her. She has been produced by Hector Zazu and Victor Sologub. The BBC recognised Sevara as the best Asian performer in the genre of world music (2004).

Recently the first Russian-speaking album of Sevara Nazarhan “So Easy”, let out under a signboard, “has stirred up Sevara and Elf” (Elf’s second release) and one in which they have made beautiful music the like of which we haven’t seen. The release comes again from Real World Records, the label begun by Peter Gabriel, registered in London, Tashkent, Moscow and New York. Among others, Nikolay Devlet-Kildeev, sound producer Tequilajazzz Andrey Aljakrinsky and producer Bruno Ellingham, who earlier co-operated with Goldfrapp and Doves, helped record the guitarist of “The Moral Code“. Lyric in Tashkent s were written to Sevara’s melodies by Sergey Mihalok from “Ljapisa Trubetsky”, Boris Grebenshchikov, Vadim Stepantsov and Karen Kavalerjan.

We asked the singer from Uzbekistan about her relation to world music, musical predilections and reference points and her eclectic life.

– How did your musical career in native Uzbekistan have its beginnings?

– It all happened very naturally. My parents are both musicians. Mum teaches on a game class on рубабе. It is a central-Asian string tool. And daddy worked at musical school and as editor on national radio. That is, music and everything that is connected with it, were always readily accessible to me growing up. And further there was musical school and conservatory work in ensemble дутаристок (one more string tool) at the radio committee, the first pop group with conservatory friends. And, almost imperceptibly to myself, I became a independent actress, when in 2000 I gave my first solo concert in Tashkent.

– What has led you to world music? And how you have come to be in “a genre citadel” – on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records label?

– World music – I am prejudiced against concept. I only do what I do – together with the “modern” songs I sing also national classical compositions; simply I adore them. Naturally, experiments with sounding, attempts of new arrangements keep coming. Therefore, as in that bad joke – I look – world music, and has got accustomed – the Uzbek classical song! And the more mature I become, the more I like a classical song without any mixtures. Here then a new album was written down – simply a set of songs which I love, and any electronics added in the studio – I hope all can soon hear them. And to Real World Records I arrived almost casually: I had flown to England for the festival WOMAD (Festival of World of Music, Arts and Dance) which has been for several years produced by Peter Gabriel. I wished to listen to Haleda, Jussu Н’Дура and others. Well there had been an absence – one of the singers had to cancel and as such could not perform. Someone mentioned to the festival management that they saw Sevara among the public. They paged me and had taken an interest, but I could not act as replacement. Next day, together with a local drummer and bass player, we sat down for a jam.

The new album “So Easy” sounds eclectic enough even for pop. The desire to please all is felt: both for thinking music fans, and thoughtless party-goers. Is this because you don’t want to miss any potential listeners?

– In general our thoughts were primarily of content over marketing. This album of songs which are pleasant to me were simply written down. And as they were pleasant to the sound recording company, it is our hope certainly that they will be desirable and pleasant to many who might listen.

– What, in your opinion, should be modern pop? What do you listen to and recommend?

– What it should be, I can not answer, as I am not a critic. But different, innovative, moving apart to horizons … And I listen to very many. Today in my mp3-player David Bowie, Depeche Mode, M.I.A., Roger Waters, Sade, Nusrat Fateh Ali the Khan, Bjork, Prince, CocoRosie, Radiohead, Dzhonni the Cache, Frank Sinatra. Sometimes I dwell for some days in hip-hop and R&ampB – Farell Williams, Lorin Hill, Wayne, Drake, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Andre 3000 Poured. From the Russian actors for today such collection: “Aquarium”, Mityaev, the Dolphin, “Center”, Hvorostovsky, “Mummies the Troll”, Zemfira, “Spleen”, V.Presnyakov, A-studio (with Shukenovym).

– How you have got acquainted with your present collaborators? Reading on a site your biography where in each line there is a star name, someone, perhaps, will see in it all only artificiality and the huge budget. As though you parried conjectures of foes and envious persons?

– All is much more prosy – I solicit verses from what sources of creativity I respect. I was familiar with some earlier, with some have got acquainted in the course of work on an album. The budget was normal – not big and not small. Flights have eaten much budget.

– Judging by your last interviews, an album “Sevara and Elf” is not the only project in which you now are engaged. What else are you preparing for listeners?

– Now we have completed an album of the Uzbek classical songs which I have adapted with the best instrumentalists. It very heavy for perception the unprepared listener, but I adore it. And besides I have begun work on a new album – it will be big and dark. I think it will take at least another year to finish. And still more time will be required for additional studio work.