From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An Ashik (Azerbaijani: Aşıq,Turkish: Aşık}, Persian: عاشیق, Armenian: Աշուղ, ashugh, Georgian: აშუღი, ashughi) is a mystic troubadour or traveling bard, in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran who sings and plays the saz, a form of lute. Ashiks' songs are semi-improvised around common bases.
The Ashik tradition in Turkic cultures of Anatolia, Azerbaijan and Iran has its origin in the Shamanistic beliefs of ancient Turkic peoples. The ancient ashiks were called by various names such as bakhshi (Baxşı), dede (dədə), and uzan or ozan. Among their various roles, they played a major part in perpetuation of oral tradition, promotion of communal value system and traditional culture of their people. These wandering bards or troubadours are part of current rural and folk culture of Azerbaijan, and Iranian Azerbaijan, Turkey, the Turkmen Sahra (Iran) and Turkmenistan, where they are called bakshy.
In September 2009, Azerbaijan’s ashik art was included into UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.