Rishad Shafi: “Creation of the World”

He created his world, musical and unusual world. The same as he himself. Being a small boy, walking with his family along Ashgabat streets, he met a group of musicians. Remembering this incident, he told that when he looked at a drummer, he felt as if a lightening strike and lost consciousness. Once he recovered, he could find no inner rest until he was given a pioneer drum.

… Since that day, Rishad as if has opened the door to a world of sounds that many of us do not even notice. He lived with sounds.

At the age of seven, he already performed with the ensemble of the Ashgabat Palace of Pioneers. The child’s unusual skills were noticed and he was invited to the orchestra to play a real drum set, though his legs did not reach a damper pedal …

He refused to believe that there are things in the universe that are not musical. He took sounds from an accidentally tucked wooden plaque, an iron piece, or a plastic toy. In his hands, any object turned, as experts say, into a percussion musical instrument. Rishad brought their sounds to an improvised melody, plunging himself and others into the magic of melody.

… Many years later, when he became very popular and toured the world with his band “Gunesh” and performed concerts with pop stars, Rishad used invented by him ‘devices’ that turned into musical instruments inspired by a sorcerer-maestro .

In Soviet times, when for Soviet Union musicians it was not easier to get abroad than to fly to the moon, Rishad performed at the festivals “Jelenia Góra” (Poland), “Golden Orpheus” (Bulgaria) among others.

At the famous rock festival “Tbilisi-80”, Rishad Shafi was recognized as the best drummer. After that, prizes and awards were flying fast and furious: at music festivals in Yerevan in 1981, Panorama (1986), X Anniversary (1988), in Turkey (1992), etc.

The rising star of jazz-rock participated in shooting a film-concert of the band in the famous music studio in Warsaw, where such show business stars as Bonnie M, ABBA and Tom Jones acted at their time.

In 1993, in Germany, he released a disc with famous American, English and German musicians.

In 1995, Rishad Shafi appeared before the musical beau monde as the author of the musical “Magic robe”.

Musicologists were admired by his virtuoso solo on drums in ingenious compositions built on the intricate rhythms of Turkmen folklore.

Star couturier Valentin Yudashkin used this brightest ethnic colour and expressive, inimitable style of musical performance by Rishad, his expressive image as an accompaniment to the Eurovost-2001 fashion show.

In 2004, Rishad Shafi worked together with world stars in the popular musical “We will rock you”.

The Turkmen musician conquered the audience in any country with his style of playing. Ho Chi Minh City Honorary Citizenship Award,  high awards of Vietnam, Mozambique were conferred to him …

Rishad Shafi was registered at the Guinness Book of Records as the creator and performer of the world’s largest percussion system. This is a whole orchestra of percussion instruments made on special orders and drawings of the drummer himself.

In 2006, the American company Pro-Mark, the supplier of percussion accessories for the most famous bands and musicians of the world, released branded sticks with the autograph of Rishad Shafi.

Once a cheerful and happy drummer passed away …

The world that he created – unusual, cheerful and joyful has remained. Like himself.

In recent years, he was often asked by well-known musicians, as well as by numerous fans of the legendary band: when “Gunesh” will give a live concert. At least one – the farewell one …

Rishad replied to them that the ensemble was born in Ashgabat, and only there, in the homeland, they would play a farewell concert. And by that, let’s close the chapter of the story of “Gunesh” …

We see today that the last page in the history of the legendary group has remained open.

Apparently, for all of us …