Fourteen-year-old Andzaur only travels to school every Thursday—if he is lucky. Since his father is an invalid, Andzaur bears the weight of responsibility for caring for his family out in the village. But in his fleeting moments of escape he devotes himself to music.
On the recording day, Andzaur wearily entered the recital hall, supporting his accordion with both arms extended perpendicular to the floor, as a school kid might support a stack of books.
No one in the Children’s School of the Arts of the Republic of Adygea had bothered to tell him why he was leaving class to perform spontaneously for a stranger, but he complied. Eyes glued to his dilapidated instrument, he performed a soulful variation of a ubiquitous Adyg folk melody. Even before the conclusion of his piece, it was clear that this performance deserved a studio recording.
Since Adygea’s school for the arts is a stone’s throw from Tlebzu Records (the studio which donated time to Music from the Mountains), it was possible to march over immediately and rerecord on higher-quality equipment. Learning about Music from the Mountains and entering the studio was the first moment when Andzaur’s gravitas faded and his lips betrayed the hint of a smile.
- The National Philharmonia, which houses Tlebzu Records
Meet Andzaur in this interview:
Listen to his recording here:
Hannah Schneider launched Music from the Mountains to show that music still unites us all, even across languages, cultures, and politics. Hannah has traveled to the North Caucasus, a region fraught with poverty and religious and ethnic strife, to scout and record an album of young musicians to help them develop their talent and become involved in Musical Exchange.