The people of Shusha made it the pearl of the Caucasus, the cradle of our culture, the mugham-singing heart of Azerbaijan
Polad Bülbüloğlu (4 February 1945) is an Azerbaijani singer, actor, politician, and diplomat. Bülbüloğlu became famous in the Soviet Union with composing jazz-influenced pop songs, which has heavy Azerbaijani folk feelings in Russian and Azerbaijani languages. He also sang his own songs. Three of his songs became Songs of the Year and he received numerous prestigious awards in the Soviet Union. Bülbüloğlu is a lyrical tenor.
In the late 1990s, despite having a huge success with a new version arranged by Paul Buckmaster of his old song Gəl Ey Səhər (Come, Hey Morning!) in Turkey and sold out concerts in Russia, Bülbüloğlu started a political career. He became the Minister of Culture of Azerbaijan and is currently the Azerbaijani ambassador to Russia.
In 2017, he was a candidate to the post of Director-General of UNESCO.
Bülbüloğlu was born Polad Murtuza oghlu Mammadov on February 4, 1945 in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR. His father was Murtuza Rza oghlu Mammadov (1897-1961), better known by sobriquet Bülbül (lit. “nightingale”), a famous Azeri opera singer and a native of Shusha, who exposed Polad to musical culture from an early age. His Batumi-born mother Adelaida Mammadova (née Gasimova, 1922-2015), who was the director of the Bulbul Museum until her death, was the daughter of Rza Gasimov, son of an Azerbaijani merchant from Yerevan, and his wife Ketevan who belonged to the Georgian noble Vezirishvili family. Polad studied the piano in a music school and then studied composing in the Baku Academy of Music, under Gara Garayev. By the age of 17 he composed several songs that were performed by professionals, as well as songs for his friend Muslim Magomayev. Bülbüloğlu’s singing talent was also discovered on a trip to Moscow with Magomayev, where Bülbüloğlu recorded his own songs in the Azerbaijani language.
In his career, Bülbüloğlu combined modern music style with national Azerbaijani music to create a new musical stream in the Soviet Union. He toured the entire USSR and performed around the world. In 1982, Bülbüloğlu became a National Artist of the Azerbaijan SSR. He participated in the Soviet television program and festival Song of the Year and won the first prize on four occasions. His songs were performed, among others, by Muslim Magomayev, Joseph Kobzon and Lev Leshchenko.
In 1969, Bülbüloğlu became a member of the USSR Union of Composers and the USSR Union of Cinematographers. He composed music for over twenty feature films and had leading roles in several. Among others, he worked with the Russian director Eduard Smolny. Bülbüloğlu has a star at the Moscow Performers’ Square, inaugurated in 2000. He received a doctorate of the History of Art from the Azerbaijan National Academy of Culture and holds an honorary professorship in the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts.
Polad Bülbüloğlu’s son, Teymur Polad oğlu Bülbül, born in 1975, is a musician in the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio and a Meritorious Artist of the Russian Federation.
Bülbüloğlu managed the Stage Ensemble of the Azerbaijan SSR (from 1976) and the Azerbaijan National Philharmonic Orchestra for several years (from 1987), and in 1988 became the Culture Minister of the Azerbaijan SSR. In 1995 he joined the National Assembly of Azerbaijan. In 2006, Polad left the post of Minister of Culture and moved to Moscow, where he was appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Russian Federation.