Rashid Beibutov (AKA Rəşid Behbudlu)

Comments on Beibutov's name spelling & origin by Robert Schlesinger:

It was an Azeri family. But: still not from Azerbaijan proper!, rather from the town of Shusha in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Armenian enclave in the Republic of Azerbaijan, an enclave where Azerbaijanians are a small minority. His first name in Azeri is Rəşid. Finally, the last name... the toughest question! His father's name was Majid Behbudlu, which sounds definitely more Azerbaijanian than Beibutov or Behbudov!! So my assumption is that he, bowing to the Russian predominance in the Soviet Union, russified his name to Beibutov; and that Behbudov is kind of a re-azerification of the "Russian" nom-de-plume!
Picture of Rashid Beibutov

Picture of Rashid Beibutov
Rashid Beibutov (December 14, 1915 – June 9, 1989) was an Azerbaijani singer and actor. He sang in Azerbaijani, Russian, Persian, Turkish, Armenian, Hindi, Urdu and Bengali among other languages.

Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, he worked in Yerevan's Philharmonia and Opera House from 1938 to 1944. He moved to Azerbaijan SSR after Tofig Guliyev's Tofig Guliyev, was President of Azerbaijan's Composer's Union and one of Azerbaijan's most beloved songwriters invitation in 1945. He became popular when he played the lead role of Askar, the wealthy peddler, in a movie Arshin Mal Alan ("The Cloth Peddler") which was based on a 1913 musical comedy by Uzeyir Hajibeyov.

Rashid's father, Majid Beibutov was a well-known singer too. He toured and performed concerts in several countries including: the United Kingdom, Finland, Iran, Turkey, China, Albania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Chile, Argentina.

In Azerbaijan, the name Rashid Beibutov is automatically linked to the history of Azeri popular music. His vocal masterpieces range from proud hymns devoted to the beauty of the Motherland to tender, lyrical confessions of love.

He is especially remembered for his portrayal of Askar, the rich, merchant in search of love in the 1945 movie version of Uzeyir Hajibeyov's music comedy, "Arshin Mal Alan." Rashid Beibutov's rare talent did not develop overnight. However, once he was discovered, his fame spread like wild fire, and he toured tirelessly, giving concerts one after another all over the world. Even though travel for those who lived behind the "Iron Curtain" was generally restricted, exceptions were made for Rashid.

In Azerbaijan, he became a soloist with the State Philharmonia (1946-56) and was given major roles with the State Opera (1953-60 with interruptions). For example, he sang the role of Balash in Fikrat Amirov's "Seville". He was an organizer and instructor of the State Concert Ensemble (1957-59). In 1966 he created the State Song Theater and became its soloist and Artistic Manager. Today the theater building honors his memory, " Beibutov Theater".

Rashid loved to sing the popular songs of the countries where he toured. At the same time, he liked to translate Azerbaijani songs into their languages, especially those from the role of Asgar-as in English, Persian, Bulgarian, Czech, Polish, and Russian and other languages. He had a good ear and exceptional linguistic ability. He could imitate the accent of a native Englishman, German, or Frenchman. Some people even went so far as to say he could sing Russian better than the Russians themselves. Upon hearing a song for the first time, he had the ability to repeat it, though he never did perform on stage until he had worked on it, at least, three or four months.

Even today, singers try to imitate the nuances of his interpretations. But Rashid was naturally gifted. It's no exaggeration to call him a genius for his exceptional talent in music.

At 73, when he died that his voice was just as remarkable as it had been when he was 45. He took good care of it. Admittedly, he drank and had a lot of love affairs. But he never smoked. He was quite handsome, though admittedly short, and rather on the heavy side. He used to try to appear taller by wearing thicker heels on his shoes. But when you heard him sing on stage, his voice was gigantic. Had there not been so many restrictions on traveling outside the Soviet Union, he probably would be known and remembered all over the world today.

Rashid Beibutov singsSevil: Balash's aria

Rashid Beibutov singsLa Bohème: Che gelida (Fragment)
In RA Format

Rashid Beibutov singsKüchelere su sepmishem
In RA Format
Küchelere su sepmishem is the Russian transliteration in English transliteration of Küçələrə su səpmişəm.
Rashid Beibutov singsArshin Mal Alan: Asker's aria
In RA Format
I wish to thank Vladimir Efimenko for the recording (Arshin Mal Alan).
I wish to thank Tom Silverbörg for the pictures, biographical notes and recordings ( Bohème, Küchelere).
Украденный Игором

Back to Index