At a recent concert of the violin player Gasan Mamedov in Ashgabat, the audience also welcomed on stage the famous singer Berdymurad Berdyev. For the representatives of the older generation, it was a real surprise, as Berdymurad was a famous singer of 80-90s. And his fame was of “all Soviet Union” significance.
In the hurly-burly of New Year’s Eve, the incredibly easy-going Berdymurad Berdyev found time to meet with the ORIENT correspondent. We had a talk on the spur of the moment, so the interview was without any preparation and the singer managed to sincerely share about important moments of his life.
First of all, we found out that he has been engaged in music self-studying since childhood. The singer’s family was out of the musical environment, and the son’s hobby was generally considered as a kind of having fun, not too much serious.
“At the same time, my father supported my passion for music,” Berdymurad says. “The first guitar I received was a gift from him; when my father was on business trips, he used to bring me strings, teach-yourself music textbooks and manual for self-tuition on playing the guitar.”
Being a student at the Turkmen Polytechnic Institute, Berdymurad was a member of the “Vtoroye rojdeniye” (Rebirth) Music Band. The band was successful among student community and traveled with concerts across the Soviet Union.
In 1977, the band performed in the city of Gagarin for the student construction teams, where had success as well. During the same time period, the legendary Turkmen “Gunesh”, led by the art director Murad Sadykov, visited the city with concerts and the young singer Berdymurad Berdyev was noticed by Murad Sadykov. The musician was offered to join the” Gunesh” team, but the proposal was refused initially.
– Why the first proposal to join the “Gunesh” group was refused by you?
“That time, I wanted to play rock music, and I had my own vision on creative work,” the singer answered. “The “Gunesh” repertoire was a little different, and I could not find myself in it.”
After the performance in the city of Gagarin, “Vtoroye rojdeniye” was invited to a concert in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses, and, a little later, the “Gunesh” again proposed Berdymurad to join to group.
“This time, I accepted their offer, as the guys wanted to change their musical style. Using elements and the traditional rhythm of Turkmen folk songs, we mixed them with a Western sound, giving a certain drive,” the artist says.
After a really boffo success of the song “Kone Guzer”, he was officially joined the famous “Gunesh” team. The composition enjoied wide popularity as it was released and sold out in 130 countries of the world and became the singer’s calling card.
“Golden Tuning Fork” lights up the Way
“In 1983, the “Gunesh” was led by Shamamed Byashimov, who later joined the Philharmonic,” Berdymurad says. “There he established the “Destan” Ensemble and he also invited me to join it.”
–Let me guess – you refused again the first proposal, don’t you?
“Of course! (he laughs). But then I decided to support the group as a soloist at the All-Union competition of pop artists. Our ensemble took third place there.”
In July 1983, another festival was held in Yalta, where Berdymurad participated. It was an International Competition for the best performance of songs of the USSR countries. The Turkmen singer took third place, sharing it with Russian star Aleksandr Serov.
In 1985, Berdyev sang in the “Russia” Concert Hall to a guitar “Take care of the field”, a song of the famous composer David Tukhmanov. Having heard such an extraordinary performance, the artist was advised to meet the maestro. A little later, in December, Tukhmanov arrived with concerts in Ashgabat, where the fateful meeting of the two musicians took place.
“In February 1986, Tukhmanov arranged his anniversary author’s evening in Moscow. I was invited there to sing the song “Take Care of the Field” just to the guitar, because David really liked the sound,” the artist notes.
That evening, Berdymurad’s performance enjoyed a huge success, and Tukhmanov invited him to participate in the Golden Tuning Fork contest. The festival was held at the Olympic stadium in Moscow.
“When I was on the way to this contest, I didn’t suppose to get any award at all. To be awarded with the Diploma of the Festival Participant was the highest level I could dream about. Those time, my mind was full of crazy excitement and constant doubts, as I supposed to sing a song to just a guitar, while other contest participants were expected to perform to serious musical instruments and equipment.”
“I constantly asked himself: “What am I doing here at all?”, laughing, Berdymurad tells about those minutes. “I am being announced on stage. While walking to the microphone stand, I experienced such a storm of feelings that could be expressed hardly in words. It seemed that I simply could not get the microphone due to the excitement, as 30,000 spectators of the stadium arena were in front of me. I sang “Kone Guzer” sing, and after the last note, there was an absolutely silence in the air. I couldn’t understand anything, while a swarm of thoughts were in my head; these seconds seemed like an eternity. And then, I heard such a storm of applauses and the audience gave me a standing ovation, as if an avalanche was rushing from the mountain, that I involuntarily took my head into my shoulders. Of course, after such stormy applauses, the way back from the stage was completely different.”
The next morning, the jury announced its decision, which unanimously awarded the “Golden Tuning Fork” award to Berdyev. The singer overtook the holders of the “Silver Tuning Forks” Irina Allegrova and Igor Talkov.
“When I was announced as the winner of the competition, I simply could not believe it. I was in a kind of shock, and after, I experienced an incredible joy feeling. I still can’t forget those emotions, ” Berdymurad notes.
That was a time, when the artist toured many foreign countries and received the Lenin Komsomol Prize. In 1988, the musician was awarded the title of People’s Artist of the USSR. It was a time of non-stop and fruitful activity.
Berdymurad had unexpected meeting with Paul McCartney, one of the founders of The Beatles, in 1993 in Argentina.
“I arrived in Buenos Aires with concerts. That time, McCartney and the Wings were at the world tour, and they also arrived in Argentina. I caught a glimpse of Paul between the concerts. I only managed to tell him that The Beatles are the idols of my childhood. Unfortunately, there are no photos from this meeting, because the camera on which we were shot turned out to be without a film!” (he laughs).
Further, the artist takes part in the movie “Nothing happened” as an actor, writes music for the much-talked-of and still beloved by many Turkmen the movie “Ohlamon”.
–You have such a dizzying career! What you busy with now?
“Yes, indeed, during my career I managed to visit many countries of the world. Now I devote most of my time to my family and rarely give concerts. However, if I go on stage, I get great pleasure from singing. It is nice to know that the audience still remembers and loves me; I am always happy to communicate with them. On the eve of the New Year, I wish all Turkmen citizens happiness, prosperity, and good mood. Go to concerts as often as possible and enjoy good music! Thank you for your love.”