“Searching for the Songs of Bukhara” this Sunday 9 June, 19:15, BBC Radio 3

Bukhara, one of the holy cities of Islam, is now in modern Uzbekistan. Until the coming of Soviet power in the early 20th century Bukhara was the capital of a multicultural emirate stretching across much of Central Asia. Bukhara had its own court music, called Shashmaqam, many centuries old, in which instrumental music and classical poetry are woven together into six modes, or cycles.

Ari’s grandfather Levi was the favourite musician of the last Amir of Bukhara. We can still hear him today thanks to an amazing set of records kept safe in the EMI archive in London, as revealed by audio archivist Will Prentice who plans to release the recordings later in 2024.

Produced and presented by Monica Whitlock featuring Will Prentice trustee of EMI Archive Trust.

With musicologists Razia Sultanova and Alexander Djumayev; musicians Ari Babakhanov, Tolibjon Temirov and Mehriniso Samieva, Master craftsman Anvar Zufarov, EMI archive trustee Will Prentice and Erkin Makhmudov, son of People’s Artist of Uzbekistan, Berta Davidova.

The programme will be available shortly after broadcast: BBC3 “Searching for the Songs of Bukhara”