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avatar for Qaraqan


Elkhan Zeynalli, better known by his stage name Qaraqan (Black Blood), is a powerful new voice in popular music, literature, and culture in Azerbaijan. As a renowned hip hop singer-songwriter with a dedicated following of fans, five albums, international concerts and media appearances, he is an innovative creative performance artist. As an author of seven best-selling books and winner of the National Book Award in Azerbaijan, he has respect for the courage and honesty of his creative work.

Elkhan Zeynalli was born in 1987 in Baku, Azerbaijan, growing up in an ordinary household and family whose resources were always a lot of books. Since childhood he fell in love with the power and magic of words. He began writing at the back of University lecture halls as a student and during hotel receptions at his job at nights. He graduated from the Turkish Lyceum in Baku and studied journalism at Baku State University.

While in his first year at the University he founded the H.O.S.T. Alliance with seven friends and fellow students. They would become the most famous Hip Hop group in Azerbaijan. The group's name derives from the abbreviation of classical elements in the Azerbaijani language, which means hava (air), od (fire), su (water), and torpaq (earth).

Unable to get commercial placement for their first album, they distributed it through the internet for free and immediately gained an eager audience of devoted fans of young people. The power of their words intensely touch the hearts of their listeners. Their songs were quickly learned and recited and shared. H.O.S.T released more albums: “Proloq” 2007 (Prologue) and “Qarada qirmizi” 2008 (Red in Black), and continued with others, and performed to big audiences.

Fame and a cult like following of young people calling themselves “hosted” grew with each performance and album. H.O.S.T. which started as a community of creative artists grew into a movement for a generation of free thinking creative youth.

Elkhan had taken the stage name Qaraqan, and his fame and acclaim as a solo artist grew. In 2010 he started his own project. He began to perform in a unique music genre – spoken word, acoustic hip-hop and jazz poetry, where lyrics and music create a magical connection. He released three solo albums: “Qisa qapanma” 2009 (Short Circuit), “Ishiq” 2011 (Light) and “Leukemia” 2013 (Leukemia). These albums brought Qaraqan to a new creative level, making him a cult figure in the music art of Azerbaijan.

The power and mastery of his art has been focused and perfected through performance. He has performed successfully to many diverse audiences in Azerbaijan and abroad, within a two week tour in Turkey in Ankara and Istanbul, and in performances in Moscow.

Qaraqan also has become an acclaimed writer. He has published seven books which all are bestsellers in his homeland. He received a presidential scholarship for achievements in literature, was announced as author of the year for 2010, and won the first prize at the National Book Award for his novel “A” which was written when he was 20 years old. Rashad Mejid, the head of the Alliance of Authors of Azerbaijan, said in an interview about him that: “In 20-30 years Qaraqan is going to bring Nobel Prize to Azerbaijan”.

“I am writing songs for myself and books for people” – Elkhan says. Meaning that his art is a search within and a dialogue between he and his audience. His readers are always looking forward to the new book released because it’s the time when they can communicate their thoughts. His listeners are always eager to hear his new song because they can join in his journey.

Qaraqan’s fans receive him not only as an artist but also as a leader, teacher and mentor. With fame and popularity he continues to live an ordinary life with his close friends and family. The creative life is his life.

My Bands Sessions

Wednesday, March 18