International Association for Assistance to the Abaza-Abkhazian ethnos «Alashara»

Composer Toto Ajapua is 80 years old

Композитору Тото Аджапуа – 80 лет

On March 10, Toto Tarashevich Ajapua marked 80 years, the holder of a long list of awards, positions and honorary titles received for a long and fruitful life: "The Honored worker of arts of RA", "RA people's artist", the academician of the International Academy of spiritual unity of the peoples of the world, member of the Union of composers of the USSR, Deputy Chairman of the composers ' Union and Director of the music fund of the RA, major of the Abkhazian army, general-major of Cossack economic Union of Russia, artistic Director of the concert band "Sing, Abkhazia!", soloist of the Abkhazian State Philharmonic society, holder of orders "Leon" and "Honor and glory"of RA," Ahdz - apsha", medals "For the glory of the Fatherland"of the Russian Federation and "Glorious warrior" of the RA Ministry of defense, international golden order "I give my heart to children"of the festival "Beauty and kindness will save the world "(Moscow – 2016), winner of the "Chronicle of war", winner of the gold medal and winner of the international competition "Nalchik – horseshoe of happiness", President of the charity fund for support of Abkhazian music "Toto Ajapua".

There are the Abkhaz proverb: "The tree keeps by tree roots, and the man – relatives." Toto Ajapua's spiritual strength and human kindness, his sometimes violent and restless perception of the environment, are rooted in the heart of the hearth, where he was born and raised. In order to know the personal nature of Toto Tarashevich, it is imperative to visit the mountainous village of Otap, Ochamchira district, listen to the birds singing and the crashing sighs of the purest waterfalls.

Toto Ajapua – the son of known longevity in Abkhazia Tarash Ajapua, his mother is of Bagateliya.

Toto loved music from his childhood, was held in the family home a great national school of music. The professional music lessons he started quite late. During his student years, writes his first song "Sandu"  (my grandmother) on the words of the poet B. Gurgulia.

In 1964, after graduating Institute and at the same time College, Toto Ajapua enters the vocal department of Tbilisi State Conservatoire. He is a student of a famous opera singer and a wonderful teacher, people's artist of the USSR P. Amiranashvily.

In the evenings Toto visited Tbilisi Opera and ballet theatre, where he studied the mysteries of vocal art, listening to leading and famous singers. He has a positive impact on the future of the singer and dramatic theater. Performances, where faced the fate of human, passionate confrontation between good and evil – all this strengthened the perception of the young man of the world. After of two years studying of Amiranashvily, Toto Ajapua moved to another teacher – professor Dmitry Shvedov, who had long and strong ties with Abkhazia, the author of the first Abkhaz Opera "Alamys".

Toto Ajapua graduated conservatory of vocal in 1969 and received a second undergraduate degree. Returning to Abkhazia, Toto has been working as a soloist of the Abkhazian state philharmonic for more than two years. At the same time he taught vocals in Sukhumi music school. But the soul aspired to a higher art. His desire to sing in Opera performances led him to the troupe of Tbilisi Opera and ballet theatre.

In 1970 Toto Ajapua for the first time performed the lead role of Kiazo in opera "Daisi" by 3. Paliashvili. Singer and actor T. Ajapua adequately demonstrated that stage work. His strong voice with a slightly rumbling tone in the course of action called on citizens to fight with the enemies. By his appearance, temperament and the artistic temperament, Ajapua corresponded perfectly his executed role of commander, Kiaso.

Then he was invited to work on creating a more sophisticated image of Giorge Germon in the opera "Traviata" by the great Italian composer of the 19th century, Giuseppe Verdi.

Soon, Ajapua drew intense concert activity of the choir, where he was the leading  soloist and director. More than 1500 concerts was given by the choir with soloist T. Ajapua. Already in itself this line of his creative activity deserves special recognition.

 Songs, Created by Ajapua quickly found their way to the hearts of listeners. Including "Sing to you, Abkhazia", "Apsny", "Apatscha" and many others. They were picked up at school choirs and amateur groups.

Another unique concert venue for the choir managed to knock due Toto Tarashevich. We are talking about the famous New Athon cave that was put into operation in the 70-ies years of XX century. Not only citizens of the former Soviet Union, but also tourists from abroad came to see this miracle of nature.

"One night it dawned on me to show concerts of the chapel inside the cave," - says the hero of the day. And he, together with the director and conductor of the chapel V. Sudakov addressed the Minister of culture A. Argun. The three went to the cave, chose the site, sang themselves in the underground kingdom, checked the sound of the song. And, of course, rumor about these wonderful concerts went everywhere. They began to write about them not only in the Union, but also in many countries of the world. Thus, the japanese newspaper "Asahi" placed a large article about Abkhazia, in particular, about the chapel and its wonderful songs that sound underground. Highlight of interesting programs of the chapel for several years was the song "The wounded" and "Abkhazian wedding", which is perfectly soloed Toto Ajapua.

The desire to compose music brings him back to the student bench – he enters the composer's department of the Tbilisi Conservatory (1971-1978 yy.). Here his teacher for composition was the Honored worker of arts of Georgia and Abkhazia A. V. Shaverzashvili.

Two cantatas: "The singer of the Abkhaz land" by the words of D. Gulia and V. Amarshan and "Thoughts about Motherland" based on the novel by B. Shinkuba "The last of the departed" became his diploma work.

Toto Ajapua is the author of over 600 works. He writes instrumental music, works for children, but cantata-oratorio and song genres are particularly attracted the composer. Among his works are the cantata "The Great Abkhazian wall", "Abryskal", "Efrem Eshba", "Uaarbanu?", choreographic suite "Nartaa", sonata for flute and piano, eight variations for piano, "Abkhazian liturgical chants", cantata "Chlow", "Otap", " Who are you?", "Thoughts about the Motherland", "Abkhazian comic" for symphony orchestra. He created more than 80 piano plays for students of music schools. In 1988, he had written 62 songs dedicated to each letter of the Abkhaz alphabet.

The staging of the dance suite "Nartaa" in the performance of State ensemble "Sharatyn" was shown both in Abkhazia and in such countries as Hungary, India, Sri Lanka, Sweden, France, Norway, Finland, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco etc. So in the promotion of Abkhazian national epos, in creating of images on the dance scene, its weighty word said a beautiful, bright, swift music of composer Toto Ajapua.

Artist, actor, Toto Ajapua continues to write music till today. For merits in development of musical art of Abkhazia by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Abkhazia Toto Ajapua in the 80 years of the twentieth century was awarded an honorary title "Honored artist of Abkhazia". By resolution of the Council of Ministers of Abkhazia in 1992 he was awarded the State prize of Abkhazia named after D. I. Gulia.

In August 1992, Georgian troops occupied Eastern Abkhazia and its capital Sukhum. Iridescent human dreams were covered with black ashes and blood of war... At this time in Gudauta, where T. Ajapua with his son Oleg were organized the ensemble called "Aiaaira" at the Ministry of defence of Abkhazia, from the occupied Sukhum came his friend – a composer, Honoured art worker of the Republic Konstantin Chengeliya. They gathered the surviving singers, dancers and began to rehearse their newly written songs. Of course, the compositions were all heroic and Patriotic, the repertoire included ancient folk songs, singing the valor of the Abkhazian army.

The ensemble often performed in Gumista trenches directly in front of the soldiers of the Abkhaz army, defended their country. If possible, radio and television broadcast them, raising the spirit of the people. The merits of the ensemble "Aiaaira" is very great.

In such a formidable and difficult time for the country particularly evident was Toto Ajapua`s character, which was formed long before the war.

The whole war Toto Ajapua with his peers walked through the battlefields and, of course, constantly "fighting" with the enemy and his songs. Such heroic and patriotic songs on the poems of the author, as "Wherever Abhaz", "Battalion", "Highlander", "Will not pass", "Our sisters" and many others were born and sounded in that dashing year.

Among songs from a big military cycle written by Ajapua, there is one dedicated to the soldiers who died in the March attack on Sukhumi in his own words. It is called "Akua". The same soulful has become the song "The brothers." With it the composer raises to the heroic pedestal all the sons of the gray Caucasus who came to the aid of their Abkhazian brothers in the fight against the enemy.

By the decree of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia in September 1998 the composer was awarded the order of Leon "for special courage, dedication and heroism shown in the protection of the Republic of Abkhazia".

Currently, he is an Honorary director of the Sukhumi school of arts, head of vocal and composer departments, responsible for concert activities.

Toto Ajapua is only eighty. It is clearly not a problem for a man with courage and willpower to overcome the centenary milestone either.