A new decade for Tajik musicians – UNESCO project gives rise to the the first female music manager
In 2012, the project Strengthening and diversifying music production in Tajikistan, brought about a dramatic change in the Tajik music industry, where there was a notable lack of professional training for music–related occupations as well as access to musical equipment. Funded by the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), the project not only provided technical training on sound engineering, music production and management, but also created a music resource centre and developed a recording studio. Implemented by a local NGO Bactria Culture Centre (BCC), this project offered career advancement opportunities to music professionals and reached over 17,500 people through musical events.
Ten years since the project completion, the momentum continues. Dina Miller, one of the beneficiaries of the project, is today the first and the only female music manager in Tajikistan. Miller is an alumna of the Music Management programme, a training session conducted as part of the project. She also bears witness to how UNESCO’s IFCD funding could bring sustainable change in artists’ careers. “All the classes were important to me because I have learnt invaluable knowledge and experience in practice, which was used in my own musical compositions and in my job as a music manager. The project opened new opportunities in the music industry to me.
The project also resulted in the creation of Music Resource Centre and the improvement of BCC recording studio. With the latest digital recording equipment, musicians today enjoy access to the state-of-the-art recording facilities. Miller also benefitted from the Centre and the studio. “Bactria Music Studio was equipped with all the necessary equipment for creating and recording electronic music. It allowed us to use our skills in practice, by recording our own and others’ music. We recorded a lot of music materials such as popular Tajik jazz songs, live jam sessions and concert,” said Miller.
“Everyone can find their place in the music industry”
To Miller, fulfilling her musical dream was not easy. “I started my career as a DJ in a night club, where I was facing harassment and gender discrimination. In Tajikistan, DJ is considered a profession only for men.” Making a living as a DJ in Tajikistan was also a challenge. “In the early 2010’s, DJs were expected to perform types of music that audience at each event requested. It restricted creativity and professional horizons of every single DJ in the country.” Today, she is one of two female DJs in Tajikistan, and performs at major musical events including World Music Day 2019 in Dushanbe, the capital city of Tajikistan.
After 10 years in the music industry, Miller is determined to continue her career in music management and to pass her knowledge and experience to younger generation. “There are a lot of facets in the music industry, so everyone can find a right place there. People can enjoy music at any level – it doesn’t matter what your profession is. You can be a composer, a musician, a singer, a producer, a music journalist, a music teacher, or even a technician that services musical instruments. Join us! ”