Google celebrates the birthday of Uzeyir Hajibeyli, the first opera composer of the Muslim East

On 18 September, the Google homepage in Azerbaijan is commemorating the 128th anniversary of the birth of composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli, who was born in the village of Aghjabadi in Shusha, Nagorno-Karabakh, which is currently under illegal Armenian occupation. He synthesised both the ashiq and mugham genres with western classical music, and this led him to compose Leyli and Majnun in 1908, the first opera of the Muslim East.

The Google homepage, however, features characters from his operetta Arshin Mal Alan (The Cloth Peddler), which is currently in its centenary year and was performed last night at the UNESCO HQ in Paris. Featuring a strong female lead character and focusing on women’s rights and the struggle against outdated concepts of class, this was a very progressive and entertaining story and has retained its popularity, being filmed several times.