Aq Beliq | White Fish is the London Uyghur Ensemble's first CD. The London Uyghur Ensemble plays traditional Uyghur music from Central Asia. The group is based in London and composed of musicians from East Turkistan (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China) and Kyrgyzstan, as well as Uyghur music enthusiasts from Britain. Some of the musicians in London Uyghur Ensemble came to Britain as refugees, and their work with this ensemble is part of their efforts to preserve their cultural heritage in the diaspora.
The London Uyghur Ensemble is the first group in the UK to perform the music of the Central Asian Uyghurs: thrilling vocals accompanied by long-necked lutes, a spike fiddle and a frame drum. This easternmost example of the maqam traditions of the Islamic world, with its 'limping' rhythms and ecstatic poetry, is deeply imbued with the Sufi ethos.
The music of Uyghurs is closely related to other Central Asian musical traditions, but also to music across the Muslim world. The song style is highly ornamented, and often uses asymmetrical rhythms and ecstatic prose, as is found in Sufi-influenced music. The various Uyghur regions have their own distinctive style and repertoire that extends from pure pentatonic melodies in the east to the more modal and complex repertoire of Kashgar.