elusive
originally released sept 2002
re-released 2007 (contains 5 bonus tracks recorded in Hungary with Nikola Parov in 2003)

Continuing to blaze new trails for contemporary world music through the steppes of Tatarstan - a territory where even the most intrepid listener usually fears to tread - Zulya brings us an album of her own exquisite songs, inspired by both the music of the world and by her Tatar heritage.

Quote: " ..(songs from elusive) oozed beauty, drama, sadness, bonhomie and peasant wisdom in equal measure." - John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald.

Zulya's new album is an affirmation of her unique identity, but an affirmation of the progressive type, and most definitely not of the conservative type! It is a step forward, and a bit to the left, of her previous, more traditionally Tatar work featured in Aloukie. Her music reflects not only the cultural wealth of her background - Tatar, Russian, Australian - but also an ongoing fascination with experimenting with timbres and styles, manifested in employing of a diversity of unusual instruments and instrumentation (kora, oud, bouzouki, litungu, jaw harp, kalimba, tuba, flugel horn, saxillo, tabla, ghatam, violin, accordion, and others). In command of this formidable array of instruments are some of the best musicians in Australia: Blair Greenberg, Llew Kiek, Epizo Bangoura, Davood Tabrizi to name a few. Be prepared to hear everything from a Balkan-tinged love song (complete with tuba, trumpets and accordion), insomnia, to a West African kora lullaby, cradle song, and the eastern sounds of jaw harp, oud and ghatam (pot-drum) on late again. The unorthodox and sometimes adventurous arrangments on elusive are nonetheless delicately sparse, and above all there is Zulya's achingly beautiful voice - pure and powerfully commanding in delivery.

Musicians on the Album:
Andrew Tanner - double bass (3, 5); Blair Greenberg - guitar, jaw harp, ghatam, surdo, tabla, various percussion; Carolyn Johns- tuba, baritone horn; Davood a Tabrizi - violin (col legno), daayareh; Epizo Bangoura - kora; Jonathan Zwartz - double bass (6); Llew Kiek - slide bouzouki, oud, slide guitar, bouzouki; Martin Tucker - litungu; Paul Jarman - flutes, saxillo, piano; Randal Muir - piano accordion (7); Stoli Petrovski- flugel horn, trumpet; Svetlana Bunic - piano accordion (5); Zulya - vocals, balafon, kalimba.

All songs on elusive are by Zulya Kamalova, except 3, 9 and 10 by Zulya Kamalova and Martin Tucker. All lyrics by Zulya Kamalova, except poems by Klara Bulatova (9), Harras Ayupov (10), Ilsoyar Iksanova (11).

Lyrics

2. beyond the horizon/ofıq artında

belerğä ıde
ni bar ofıq artında
citärğä ide
ofıq diğän qatına

cir tüğäräk beläm
äilänep kire genä qaitam
ofıqnı totıp qararğa
xiç kenä yuq çaram

ofıqnıñ çitenä
sikeräse kilä
ä ul alğa küçä
niğä der alğa küçä

i’d like to know
what is beyond the horizon
whatever it is,
i’d like to get there

i know the earth is round
i will come back to where i started
i don’t have a way to touch
the elusive horizon

over the edge of the horizon
i‘d like to jump
but it keeps on moving forward,
keeps on getting away

3. like a child/sabi kebek

yela yelisı kilğäç
yela yelisı kilğäç
küz yäşeñnän oyalma
yarami disälär dä

yelağaç räxätlänep
canqailarıñ açılır
yöräğeñnän yök töşär
sulışıñ ciñelläer

yañğırğa quşılıp yela
sabi çaqta kebek yela
tamsın kömeş küz yäşläreñ
saf çişmä sulari kebek

cry if you need to
cry if you feel like it
don’t be embarrassed of your tears
cry, even if they say you can’t

cry to your hearts content
your soul will open up
a heavy burden will lift
your breath will lighten

together with the rain, cry
like a chıld, cry
let the silver tears roll down
like pure spring waters

4. late again/soñğa qalam

şundi ğäjäp töşlƏr kuräm
ölğerä almim oçqıçqa
mine kötmi oçıp kitä
xäm yuq bula ofıqta

tırışsam da ölğererğä
niğä der soñğa qalam
sorau biräm üz üzemä
ni öçen soñğa qalam?

uñaisız uñışsız qalam
borçolam qurqam yoğräm
aşqınsam da azaq bulam
qaiğıram soñğa qalam

i am dreaming the same
strange dream again
i am missing the plane again
it doesn’t wait for me
disappears into the thin air

i am running hard
but again i am late
i am asking myself
why does this keep happening
i am worried, i am running
i am scared, i am failing
even if i hurry
i am late agaın

5. insomnia/yoqisizliq

sineñ yaniñda uyanasi ide irtän
berğä bulğanda yoqlap bulmi şul ul, beläm

töseñä sineñ minem keräsem bik kilä
yaniñda sineñ tönnä da bulasim kilä
küz kerfekläreñe söep übäsem kilä
ğomer yulin berğä berğä ütäsem kilä

sineñ küzeñä ozaqlap qarisim kilä
qari qari anda yuğalasim kilä
yalqiniñda yanip xarap bulsam da quriqmim
bu izğe xisne ber närsä ğä aliştırmim

i want to wake up with you in the morning
but we can never sleep when we are together

i want to enter your dream
so that i am with you when you’re asleep
i want to kiss the tears from your eyes
i want to walk this road with you

i want to look into your eyes forever
and get lost in them
i am happy to burn in your flame
i won’t exchange this feeling for anything

6. the fog /toman

irtän que toman töşte
ä kiçä şundi ayaz ide
que toman berxet soman
mine uradı

irtälärem xai tomanlı
qaiçaqlarda ayaz bulsa da
başqaemda toman büğen
tınıç aq toman
yomşaq aq toman

in the morning fog descended
although yesterday it was so clear
thick fog like velvet wrapped me up

my mornings are mostly foggy
although sometimes quite clear
today my head is full of fog
gentle white fog
soft white fog

7. paınted smıles/yasalma elmayu

nik äitep torirğa
faidasiz süzlärne
yoräktän bulmağaç
buş süzlär äitelä
elmayu yasalma
üzeñne aldağaç

yaratsinnar öçen
üzğärsäk äğärdä
küñel sağislana
bu gädel uilarni
qurqabiz äiterğä
”yağimli” keşe bez

why bother saying words
that are useless
if you don’t mean them
empty words are often said
the smiles are false
who are you trying to deceive?

to be loved
we pretend to be someone we are not
but the heart is sad
we are too scared to express
our sincerest thoughts
we are “nice” people.

8. if a bird lands on your palm/qulıña çıpçıq qunsa

qulıña ägärdä çıpçıq qunsa
totıp alırğa telämä
totsañ qanatları anıñ sınar
qurqıtma ani, saırasın

köçläsäñ cırlamas
ul möhäbät kebek
räxmät dığen saırağaç
qulıña qunıp

if a bird lands on your palm
don’t try to seize her
her wings are fragile
don’t scare her and she’ll sing

but if you force her, she won’t
like love itself.
just thank her for staying
on your palm awhile

9. the snow is falling/qar yawa

qar yawa, yawa tin ğina
öep lä töelıp qına
qar yawa, yawa moñ ğına
moñ ğına qoelıp qına

qar yawa, yawa, çornala
şäl bulıp öskä töşä
yaña yel alda, şulai da
ütkƏn cäi iskä töşä

qar yawa, tüğelä, sibelä,
tüşälä, yata, iñä
yaña yel alda şulai da
ütkän cäi iskä töşä

qar yawa törep donyanı
büz kinder aqlık belän
qar yawa törep bu cannı
nindider şatlıq belän

snow is falling
so gently
so calmly

snow ıs falling
like a song
pouring down

snow ıs falling
like a white shawl falling on us
the new year is ahead but
ı am thinking of last summer

snow is falling, pouring, tumbling, spilling,
touching, painting, staining
snow is falling wrapping our souls
in some strange joy

10. cradle song/ ällı bällı

matçalarğa elğän bişek –
ällı bällı, ällı bällı
sabi canğa ni kiräğen
sin qailardan sizdeñ äle

ällı bällı ğaziz bişek

ağa alar mindä büğen
tamırlarda tibep-tibep
talpınasıñ kükräktäğe
arımas ber yoräk kebek

aulımdağı eraq kiçtä
sineñ xärber tirbäleşen
äiterseñ lä mina küçkän
ällı bällı ğaziz bişek

oçkan qoştai tirbäläm min
sin – ğomerlär ağışında
ellar aşa köeñ sarqi
xäm quşıla tawışıma

yuatırğa cırıñ äzer
bulsa cannıñ cirsäu mäle
ällı bällı sın qailardan
sizäseñ der minem xälne

the cradle is hanging from the ceiling
ally-bally, ally-bally
how do you know what a baby needs?

ally bally, sacred cradle

my blood is throbbing in my veins.
you rock like the tireless heart in my chest

in my village in that faraway evening
it’s like your every swing has entered me
ally bally, dear cradle

like a little bird i tremble
you swing in the currents of life
your songs seeps through the years
and joins my voice

you are ready to console
if the soul is in pain.
you must feel what i am feeling

11. the moon, mama/ai, äni

“kiçä töndä, - dideñ, - ai totildi,
i cällädem aini, bäğerem”
äni, äni, tüp-tüğäräk çaqta
belsäk ikän ainiñ qaderen

bik sağinsam sine, kükkä qarim,
sin üzeñ dä ai kük, i äni!
büğen ainiñ ber qirie kitek –
küñelemä buldi ällä ni

büğen sineñ ber şatlığiñ kimder:
uilariñda minder möğaen…
sarapul küklärenä barip çiqsañ,
äniemne kürçe, i aem

xäbärlärem citker, qaitir diğen
tizdän qaitir diğen, sawiğip..
äni, äni sineñ sağişlariñ
baş oçımda tora ai bulip.

“last night,- you said,- there was a lunar eclipse,
i was so sorry for the moon, my baby”
if only when it was full, mama,
we were grateful for it

when i miss you, mama, i look at the sky
you are like the moon itself
tonight the moon’s one side isn’t visible
i have a strange feeling in my heart

tonight maybe you are not at ease
you must be thinking about me
hey moon, when you get to sarapul’s sky’s
please see my mother

let her know my news, tell her i’ll come home soon
tell her i’ll come home, because i miss her
your thoughts, mama, are with me
just like the moon above my head

12. for m.

дождь идет, милый мой, как тогда
мы прощаемся с тобой навсегда
далеко уезжаю, знаю что
вместе быть не дано

плачешь ты, милый мой, плачу и я
почему же судьба к нам так зла
не хватило любви и в душе
лишь печаль и тоска

через год, милый мой, боль пройдет
успокоится душа, горечь уйдет
никогда не узнаем почему
вместе быть не дано

слышишь ли,милый, кто-то поет
о разлуке песню ввечеру
даже лес затаился и притих
ей внимая ручей

like that day, my darling, it’s raining
we are saying good-bye forever
i am going far away, i know
we aren’t meant to be together

i burst into tears, darling, you are crying
why is destiny so harsh
our love didn’t endure,
in our hearts is sadness

in a year, my darling, the pain will settle down
the hearts will heal, the bitterness will subside
we will never know why
we aren’t meant to be together

can you hear, darling, somebody is singing
a sad song of farewell
even the forest has become quiet and
the creek has stopped running

 

elusive elusive

The Sydney Morning Herald, John Shand
Metro, Dec 13-19, 2002
4 stars

Hearing Zulya’s seductive voice sends the hairs on the back of your neck tingling to life, and the effect then spreads out into more sweeping paroxysms of delight. The folk music of her native Tatarstan, Russia, informs the original songs, which can be blythe, despondent or goose-bump impassioned.

 

How do you categorize the music of Zulya Kamalova? Hailing from the Volga River region of the former USSR she brings elements of Russian music and that of her Tatar heritage and weds it to an expansive world consciousness. The timbre and control of subtle inflections in her voice are immediately identifiable and unforgettable.

In addition to having received numerous awards for her music in Australia recognition of her talent in the international arena has led to the inclusion of her music on the Putumayo collections Dreamland and Music From The Tea Lands. On her latest release Elusive (UAR) she is backed by some of Australia's leading musicians who provide a series of culturally fluid settings for her extraordinary voice.
Llew Kiek provides aching slide guitar on the beautiful Like A Child or the kora of Epizo Bangoura paints a West African layer on the lullaby-like Cradle Song. In fact there's a bewildering array of instruments here from jews harp, trumpet, kalimba, flutes, piano accordion, balafon to violin etc covering a multitude of cultural influences… Irish, African, Middle Eastern, Russian, Australian or cabaret fused by a flowing jazz freedom.
Yet there is never any sign of cluttering. Zulya is the creative centre of every piece here. She evinces a majestic quality that reminds me of the great American singer Abbey Lincoln. Elusive is not just a great Australian world music album but a collection of music that transcends time and place.
www.diaspora.com.au

July 2003

 

”The textures are skillfully created, and match the delivery and its intimacy, it’s all beautifully done…” Geoff Burton, the fROOTS magazine, UK, March 03