Several years ago, I wrote a commentary onto Zulya’s personal site, beseeching her not to perform one of the well-known Tatar songs. My message had been posted and remained there only a few hours, before it was speedily removed by site's administrator. I repeatedly sent my message. However, it was censored again, and again. I stopped trying to contact her after that...
Zulya has absolutely no sense for Tatar music. It is not because Tatar music is something incredible, or difficult to understand, or render for a foreign audience. No. It is quite a simple question of the performer's musical culture, pertaining to his or her level of scrupulousness and diligence. She (excuse my French) always f*cks up the Tatar tunes, both traditional and non-traditional, in every points where possible, deforming, distorting and defacing them pretty sadistically. And what happens after such an act of sadism? Some of the critics, who have absolutely no idea how neither Russian, nor – surely! - Tatar songs have to be performed, quickly mint generous expressions about “jazz-like interpretations”, "new releases" of a "very talented new voice" from “the very heart of Asia”, “still remembering the stampings of Genghis Khan’s hoofs”. Show some mercy, folks! Such misrepresenting does not work with Tatar folk songs. They were already seriously murdered on regular basis for the last thirty years or so by so-called Tatar “popsá”-singers (a Russian neologism for popular music of shitty quality), who were carrying out what even the Soviet vlast’ (regime) could not have fulfilled in seventy years.
Well, some suggestions... Only two ways exist. First, the most gracious one is (excuse my French again) - to stop f*cking around with Tatar tunes and beats, and begin singing professionally and vividly. What is going to happen? A poor, self-destructive and culturally endangered Tatar nation, undoubtedly, shall kneel down before their ex-pat, propagating Tatar heritage worldwide. The second way is as brief and tough as a crack of a whip, but also effective as well: to stop performing Tatar songs at all. Behold, I guarantee you, all Tatar professional musicians will thank Zulya with tears of deep gratitude in their eyes. Doing so, Zulya will never resemble a bizarre blend of Uzbek and Turkish popsá anymore, sounding like Yulduz Usmonova hit by a car, and like Sezen Aksu run over by a following vehicle.
I may not be a very good singer myself, I never thought I was, but I know good singing from bad.
For Tamara Turner: Turkic speaking peoples of Central Asia have their own ethnonyms, say, Uzbeks, Uighurs, Karakalpaks, Turkmens, Kyrgyzs, Kazakhs, etc. However, the Kazan (Volga) Tatars, to whom Zulya proudly belongs, are not autochthonous for Central Asian region and had moved there long times ago in a few waves of migration. You perhaps do not call Ernest Hemingway a Spaniard for driving a truck under regime of Franco, or a Frenchman for drinking absinth in a Paris street café with a scenic view to the Eiffel tower…