The people of Shusha made it the pearl of the Caucasus, the cradle of our culture, the mugham-singing heart of Azerbaijan
Haji Husu (1830-1898) was a mugam singer. He was born Husu Niftali oghlu Kazimli around 1830 in Shusha. Haji Husu received his first education from private classes with a mullah. Then he continued his studies at a madrasa. A gifted singer, he studied traditional singing with Kharrat Gulu, one of the most prominent representatives of Shusha vocal art. Haji Husu’s first public performance was that of the “Chahargah” in a charity event at the Khandamirov Theatre, following the performance of Sadigjan. He became a popular invited singer not only at weddings in the Caucasus, but also in several cities across the Middle East. In 1880, Iranian Naser al-Din Shah Qajar invited Haji Husu to Tabriz for his son’s wedding. Haji Husu, who performed with famous Iranian singers at the wedding, was eventually awarded by the shah.
In the 1880s, Haji Husu and Mir Mohsun Navvab founded a musicians’ association in Shusha, where the art of mugham was discussed during regular meetings. Mashadi Jamil Amirov, Islam Abdullayev, Seyid Shushinski, Sadigjan were frequent participants of the meetings. In 1883, they organized a circle for the training of young singers.
In addition to being a singer, Haji Husu also engaged in pedagogical activity and was known as a musician who excelled in Oriental and Azerbaijani mugham. He improved a number of mughams and created new versions of them. For instance, he fused “Shahnaz” with “Kurdi” yielding “Kurdi-Shahnaz”. According to Jabbar Garyaghdioglu, Haji Husu is also the creator of the “Gatar” mugham accompanied by Sadigjan.
Haji Husu died in 1898 in Ashgabat.