ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


Gunesh (Turkmenistan)
Overall View


1984/1999 - "Rishad Shafi Presents: Gunesh"

1990/2000 - "45 Degrees Centigrade In a Shadow"

1984/1999 - "Rishad Shafi Presents: Gunesh" ******
(65 min, "Boheme Music")


 1 Baikonur (Cosmodrome)  6:48

 2 The Pain of Loss  7:45

 3 The Oriental Express  3:36

 4 The Rhythms of the Caucasus  8:24

 5 The Wind From the Gang River  4:28

 6 Vietnamese Frescoes  5:29

 7 The Younger Brother  3:42

 8 The Lamentation of Shahsanem  5:26

 9 The Oriental Souvenir  4:56

10 Bitter Fate  7:06

11 Date With a Sweetheart  4:15

12 Requited Love  3:12

All compositions by Gunesh, except a few traditional - arr. by Gunesh.

Tracks 1, 3,4,5,6, 9 are instrumentals. Tracks 1-6 recorded in 1984 by Rafik Ragimov. Tracks 7-12 recorded in 1980 by R. Ragimov. Mastered by Vladimir Mikloshitch at "Inaline" studio, Czech Republic, in 1999.

Line-up: Rishad Shafi - drums & percussion; Oleg Korolev - keyboards; Stepan Stepanyantz - keyboards; Michail Loguntsov - guitars, sitar; Vladimir Belousov - bass; Gasan Mamedov - violin; Vagif Rizayev - saxophones; Stanislav Morozov - flute & alto sax; Yusif Aliyev - trombone; Alexander Stasyukevitch - trumpet; Shamil Kurmanov - trumpet; Rakhmed Abdurakhmanov - guitars (7-12); Khajiriza Ezizov - vocals (2,7,8,10); Berdy-Murad Berdiyev - vocals (11); Ilyaz Redjepov - vocals (12); Shamamed Byashimov - dutar, synthesizer, vocals (12)

Gunesh is a Progressive Jazz Fusion band, which was and still remains more than just famous in the former USSR and one of the most well-known outside of it - together with the Russian band Arsenal. Gunesh's first CD released by the only Russian Prog-label "Boheme Music" consists of the band's two first LPs that originally were released by the well-known Soviet 'recording monopolist' "Melodiya" in 1980. These LPs are the band's self-titled debut album of 1980 and "I See the Earth" of 1984. Both these LPs are, however, 'placed' on the Bohemian CD in the reverse order: the CD tracks from the 1st to the 6th are the same that feature the second Gunesh LP and the tracks from the 7th to the 12th are identical to the first LP's tracks 1 - 6. As you see, there is a significant difference between two first LPs of Gunesh. There is only one song (track 2) among instrumental compositions on the second LP, and the other way round, the first LP contains only one instrumental (also track 2). So, the CD kind of presents two different sides of Gunesh's early creation. But, despite the fact these 'sides' are, on the whole, so different between themselves, the highest 'musical' quality of all the twelve pieces, and also practically the same way in composing, arranging and performing of pure instrumentals and of instrumental parts within each song, helps to perceive this CD as a monolith work with just a unique approach to assembling of tracks. Of course, first of all exactly pure instrumentals show what Gunesh is really capable of. Almost totally consisting of specifically 'spicy' Eastern motives, these instrumentals with such a unique sound to them can thrill you wonderfully, though at the same time you understand that they're among the most complex and masterly, truly progressive things you've ever heard within the Jazz Fusion genre. Gunesh's songs have often quite sorrowful vocal themes, and the Turkmenian language is one of the most 'listenable' in Rock Music, by the way. Gunesh, in general, is undoubtedly one of (just a few, maybe) the most unique Progressive Rock bands of all time. But while their second LP is, in my view, the most colourful and picturesque among the other complex, really progressive fusion albums, their one of a kind debut is undoubtedly the only real prog-fusion album with plenty of vocals in it. Both these 'sides, as you know already, are presented on one CD released by "Boheme Music" for all you, and first of all for those who think there is already nothing in Progressive Music that could really surprise them.

VM. February 28 - March 6, 2000

1990/2000 - "45 Degrees Centigrade In a Shadow" *****+
(48 min, "Boheme Music")


Intro 2:04 (R.Shafi, S.Morozov)

To My Friends 3:46 (R.Shafi, V.Belousov)

Vietnamese Frescos-II 7:03 (Gunesh)

45  Degrees Centigrade In a Shadow 3:32 (R.Shafi)

Rhythmsof Ancient Land 10:34 (R.Shafi)

The Magic Caftan 4:10 (S.Morozov)

Liana 4:03 (traditional)

Kechpeleg 3:16 (traditional - N.Khalmamedov)

To My Friends-2 3:34 (R.Shafi)

Hit the Road 4:49 (R.Shafi)

Finale 0:43 (S.Morozov)

Engineered by M.Loguntzov & G.Lazarev.
Mastered by Vladimir Mikloshitch ("Inaline" stuido, Czech).
Produced by R.Shafi.

Line-up: Irina Shafiyeva - keyboards, voice; Stepan Stepaniantz - keyboards; Michail Loguntsov - sitar, guitar; Ilyas Pasha - guitar; Vladimir Belousov - bass; Makhtumkuli Kurban Niyazov - percussion; Stanislav Morozov - sax; Lev Feryans - clarinet; Khak Berdy - tabla; Rishad Shafi - drums / percussion / xylophone

The Album. The second CD by a wonderful Turkmen band Gunesh (actually this is their third album) consists of the recordings made by the leader Rishad Shafi with different musicians in different years, precisely - from 1985 to 1990. What is more, the tracks of "45 Degrees Centigrade In a Shadow" were recorded in three different cities: in Ashkhabad (capital of Turkmenistan, their homeland), Tashkent (capital of Uzbekistan, where I live, by the way; the best recording studios in Central Asia) and Moscow (capital of Russia, still a cultural center of C.I.S - at least). I don't really know where was recorded the album's title-track, but such a terrible heat is possible in Ashkhabad only. However what may be, is that "45 Degrees Centigrade In a Shadow" chock full of hot eastern colours. Totally instrumental, apart from a couple little episodes with nice vocalized lines, this is a very energetic fusion album. With most compositions short here, all of them are played in up-tempo with cascades of blistering solos and smoking interplays between a great many instruments to the accompaniment of unceasing, bombastic, virtuosic and diverse drumming of Rishad Shafi. The two lengthy compositions are extremely diverse in mood, especially Rhythms of Ancient Land. This is the only piece on the album composed and played in a somewhat pensive mood with charming sounds of sitar and light percussion. A bit more accessible than "I See Earth" (1984), "45 Degrees Centigrade In a Shadow" is nevertheless a more dynamic album, and so the fans of instrumental fusion are bound to feel a burst of energy with each listen (like fans of heavy metal, by the way). Don't forget that this album is full of really hot eastern colours.

"Boheme Music" website is at:

The CD ordering is via e-mail:

VM. December 31, 2000


ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages