The Azerbaijani jazz musician who refuses to own a phone or talk to the media
It was no easy feat to persuade this unusual person to agree to an interview. If not for a long personal friendship, this article would not have come out.
This musician, Sekhavet Guliyev, says this will be his first and last interview. As in everything, Sekhavet is unique in his attitude towards journalists.
Guliyev was born in 1959 in the Azerbaijani city of Salyan. His father, Fatali, supported his family by selling kerosene. The family had five children – four boys and one girl. Sekhavet is the youngest child in the family.
A long journey that began with a wooden guitar
From childhood, Sekhavet and his older brothers had a great passion for playing the guitar. The parents did not take this seriously and did not think about buying a real guitar for their youngest son.
And he took a small piece of wood and tied nylon threads to it, thereby making himself the first guitar in his life.
Later, in 1978-1980, during his military service in Lithuania, he began to play the guitar as part of an amateur ensemble created by soldiers who came from Leningrad. His mastery of execution does not leave indifferent even the residents of the village where Sekhavet served in the army.
Weddings as a food source and … jazz
After the service, young Sekhavet returned to Baku and, in order to support himself, begins to go to weddings and play the guitar there.
Ten years later, he decided to return to his native Salyan. And here he earns by playing at weddings.
Jazz compositions performed by him at local celebrations delighted the Salyans. Young people from the 80s and 90s of the last century still listen to this music of Sekhavet with nostalgia.
The musician himself notes that by nature he is rather closed and quiet and for this reason does not like displays of fame, avoids television and radio, and this has always been the case.
“But before the quarantine, you weren’t even seen at weddings.
– At the age of 40, I planned to end my career as a musician at weddings. But due to reasons beyond my control, it had to be postponed for 20 years. Acquaintances, friends came to me, asked to play at their weddings, I could not refuse them. This lasted until I turned 60.
Sekhavet’s two sons are also virtuoso jazz guitarists. Jalal, 35, lives with his parents with his family. He went to weddings with his father and played along with him on the seven-string guitar.
The eldest son, 36-year-old Jamil, lives in Madrid, the capital of Spain. He plays there under the pseudonym Josef. In 2018, Jalal went to the faraway country with his brother and they played a duet together in Madrid restaurants and at local holidays. But for family reasons, Jalal had to return home, while Jamil still lives and works in Spain.
“Jazz is my worldview”
Sekhavet is not talkative, but he still complied with our request to explain his passion for jazz:
– My older brothers in those days listened to cassettes of world famous guitarists, and I listened to them. Jazz is my worldview, my view of the world. For example, when I play the song A Million Scarlet Roses by Alla Pugacheva, I improvise in the middle of the composition and thus enter that world, share my impression with the audience.
It was with great difficulty that we secured the consent of Sehavet to photograph him. We also learned that he still does not have a mobile phone. The strange person who speaks to the world with the language of his guitar never speaks to anyone about himself.