Artist Spotlight – Imamyar Hasanov

Every year I can’t wait for the announcement of what artists will be performing at the American Folk Festival.  I scan down the list so I can choose someone I never heard of playing music I don’t understand, so that by the end of the weekend, I have added an experience of sounds and emotions that, but not for the Festival, I would have never experienced.

So far this year the American Folk Festival has announced an amazing array of artists just a few of who are Wylie & the Wild West (modern country & western swing), Preston Shannon (Memphis blues), Mickey Galyean & Cullen’s Bridge (Bluegrass) and Imamyar Hasanov (Kamancha).

Woah! Wait a minute… There it is.  Imamyar Hasanov, what the heck?  I immediately visited my old friend Google and found several examples of Imamyar playing his instrument.  I sat down to listen and I was hooked.  What an amazingly beautiful sound.  So clear and clean, and most importantly for me: unknown, different and intriguing.

I have had many friends and family say to me, “Why do you spend so much time volunteering for the American Folk Festival?”  Let me tell you why, because I get to say things like this:

Imamyar Hasanov is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso on Kamancha who works to foster the vitality and public appreciations of Azerbaijani traditional music. 

Cool right?

Let me tell you a little of what I have learned about Imamyar and the kamancha.

The kamancha is an ancient stringed musical instrument of Azerbaijan played with a bow that has been around for centuries and remains a staple in the music of that country.  Music played on the kamancha has been described as the “best of all melodic instruments.”  I am sure that after you experience this, you will agree.


Imamyar was born in Baku, Azerbaijan.  He has been playing the kamancha since the age of seven.  He earned his Master’s Degree in Art and Music from the Azerbaijan State Conservatory.  He is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso on kamancha who has participated in music festivals all over the world and won a variety of national and classical music competitions.  His passion is to bring this music to the people.  How lucky we will be to have him right here in Bangor at the American Folk Festival August 28, 29 & 30.

Check out his website and this video to learn more.