"Barno Ishakova is arguably the greatest classical singer of Central Asia. Born in 1927 in Tashkent, to a Jewish family originally from Samarkand, she grew up in musical surroundings that were ideal for the development of her innate talent. She began to study singing at the age of fifteen with A. Qasimov and Najmoddin Aka and in 1950, she moved to Dushambe, the capital of Tajikistan, and deepened her musical knowledge working with well known performers such as Yunus Rajabi, Fazloddin Shahabov, Babaqul Fayzollaev, and Shahnazar Sahibov. In their midst, she not only mastered the classical repertoire, but developed her own individual style. Her renown grew quickly, and through recordings, radio, and appearances at weddings (toy-s) she won over all connoisseurs of classical song in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, who never lost an opportunity to hear her. When the classical repertoire was collected and transribed, she contributed many songs she had learned through oral transmission. Until 1992, Barno Ishakova was an instructor at the Institute of Arts in Dushambe, giving her courses at home and turning out numerous talented artists, in particular, female vocalists, many of whom later flourished on their own, for example Ra'na Abdollaeva.
In 1992, with the deterioration of the political situation and of living conditions in Tajikistan, Barno Ishakova chose to emigrate to Israel. There she found accomplished musicians from Central Asia who had preceded her, but perhaps not the passionate public that had adored her during her long career...
Her repertoire extends beyond the domain of the Bukharan Maqam to include classical songs that belong to a lighter and more accessible, but still learned, urban tradition. In her carefully prepared and highly ornamented performances, the most simple melodies become artistic masterpieces. Hearing her an Uzbek music specialist was ecstatic: She is a true goldsmith; the others are blacksmiths by comparison. No instrument can follow her ornamentation..."
Jean During in the booklet to "Asie centrale - Traditions classiques", a 2 CD set, Ocora - Radio France, C 560035-36, 1993.
Barno Ishakova belongs to the Shashmaqam tradition of Bukhara. Her name is written sometimes also Barno Iskhakova or Itzhakova. The recordings presented here - originally probably from Melodiya LPs - we collected from diverse Uzbek, Tajik and Jewish websites. Surprisingly there seam to be no CDs by her at all.
Navruzi Sabo (10:49)
Ufori Bayat (3:53)
Sokinomai Iraoq (5:12)
Chi doni (4:37)
Ey Sabo (5:54)
Jononai man (4:56)