Natig Rhythm Group (Azerbaijan)

Azerbaijani Percussion Music

17 February 2019 - Evening

Gandhi Ground

About Natig Rhythm Group :

The greatest nagara player to emerge from the Caucasus, Natig Shirinov has revolutionized nagara percussion technique to become Azerbaijan's first rhythm composer, touring the world as part of Alim Qasimov's ensemble from 1999 to 2007, now with the Natig Rhythm Group bringing his creative energy with award winning performances and innovative compositions to amaze and connect with power and passion, the rhythms of his soul.


Natig Shirinov was born with rhythm. His numerous contributions to Azerbaijani percussion music have set new musical standards, inspiring new directions in the art. He has revolutionized nagara percussion technique to become Azerbaijan's first rhythm composer.

Natig Shirinov was born in Baku on November 10, 1975, into a family of famous Ashiqs. At the age of 9, in 1984, Natig began the study of the nagara with teacher Azer Aliyev at Tofig Ismaylov Music School. Each year of study he continued improving his knowledge and technique.

At the age of 24 Natig received an invitation from Alim Qasimov, master of mugham and the honored artist of Azerbaijan, to step into his professional career. With this group he toured the world from 1999-2007: the United States, England, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Iran, Morocco, Romania, China, Poland, Korea, Russia, Serbia and Turkey. On these tours Natig was inspired by the revolutionary performances of Mısırlı Ahmet, master of darbuka and Zakir Hussain, master of tabla. He began to compose new rhythms for the nagara.

In 2001 he founded “Natig Rhythm Group” with five performers. Besides the nagara, he included old Azeri instruments such as zurna, balaban, and tutek (whistle flute) to the group, created new rhythms, and enhanced the recognition and appreciation of the nagara as the traditional instrument of Azerbaijan. In 2002 in the search again for new rhythms he learned the tabla at the Council of India in Moscow, and began to synthesize Azerbaijani rhythms with world rhythms.

Natig recorded his albums “My World” in 2004 and “My World II” in 2006. He included compositions using different types of nagaras, such as bam, boyuk, dari, dovul, kut, qopuzlu, qosha, zang, and zil on these albums. Within traditional Azerbaijani folk music he introduced new directions and rhythms in his compositions. In November 2004 he was officially invited to the “World Music Festival of Drum and Dance” devoted to the 120th anniversary of Taipei. He was rewarded by the Department of Cultural Affairs of the Taipei City for his great and outstanding performance. He performed at the International Baku Jazz Festival in 2005, rewarded with “Diploma Laureate” by Festival Producer, Rain Sultanov and Head of Organizing Committee, Nuri Akhmedov.

He participated at the Drum Festival in Baku in 2005, 2006, 2008 & 2009. His group’s performances at the festival were increasingly brilliant, and they gain more notice and praise.

Natig Rhythm Group gained more recognition and awards in the next years, participating in intergovernmental exhibitions and conferences. In 2006 they were rewarded a National Award for instrumental group of the year. In 2006 he was invited to perform with pianist and composer Emil Ibrahim Quartet in Belgium and in 2007 he took part in the concert “Emil Ibrahim & Friends” at Baku Jazz Festival.

Natig and his group performed at the Culture Days of Azerbaijan in Moscow in 2006 and 2007, in France in 2007, in Morocco and Germany in 2008. In June 2007 he was invited to perform with the band led by Salman Gambarov, distinguished pianist and composer, to participate at “The 3rd International Art Festival of the Caucasus” in Warsaw. The band performed with blended eastern and western music inspirations.

In September 2007 Natig was rewarded with the title of Honored Artist of Azerbaijan by the President. He was invited by Azerbaijani singer Sevda Alekperzade to accompany her on her albums’ recording: “A Flower in Bloom” in 2007 and “World of Love” in 2009. Natig together with Sevda Alekperzade gave a number of concerts in Austria, Germany, and Romania in 2008 and in Germany in 2009. Natig Rhythm Group together with the State Dance Ensemble performed at the grand opening of the support concert for The Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Serbia in 2008.

Natig with Natig Rhythm Group was awarded the Grand Prix Award at the Geumsan World Percussion Performance Art Festival in 2011. And two years in a row Natig Rhythm Group headlined the Royal Belum World Drums Festival (2011/2012) in Malaysia.

Natig Rhythm Group was a featured performer for the live televised opening and closing ceremony of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 in Azerbaijan. Natig Rhythm Group was the opening act for world superstar Rihanna at her concert in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2012.

In 2012 and 2014 Natig performed and gave master classes at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

In 2015 Natig Rhythm Group performed in the opening ceremonies of the first European Games.

Natig Rhythm Group