JAMALA – THE SUN OF TAVRIDA
Jamalu, a Ukrainian singer of Crimean Tatar origin, is considered an uncomfortable performer. And all because she does not shock the public with cheap scandals, does not sing “sticky” songs and does not untwist her name with duets with popular colleagues. Her songs are full of meaning and taken out of the depths of her soul, and non-standard five-octave vocals mesmerizes the audience. And only this Ukrainian winner of Eurovision 2016 wants to do all his life.
From early childhood, the life of the future singer was not distinguished by carelessness. Susana Dzhamaladinova (this is the real name of Jamala) was born in the Kyrgyz city of Osh on August 27, 1983. Her paternal ancestors were deported from Crimea to Kyrgyzstan in 1944. And the ancestors of the mother (Armenians by nationality) had to leave Nagorno-Karabakh after dispossession. The parents of Jamala met the singer Jamala at the music school, where Galina was a pianist, and Alim – the conductor of his ensemble, who performed Crimean Tatar music, as well as melodies of the peoples of Central Asia. The Dzhamaladinovs family celebrated their daughter’s first birthday already in Ukrainian Melitopol. Jamala’s father dreamed of returning to his historical homeland in Crimea, but in the 1980s there was an unspoken ban on the transfer of Crimean Tatars to the peninsula and, especially, the sale of housing to them. Then the parents of Jamala decided to issue a fictitious divorce. The father stayed with his two daughters in Melitopol, and his mother went to the village of Malorechenskoye (Kuchuk-Uzen) near Alushta, where she rented a room and began to teach music. After 4 years, she managed to buy a home and reunite with her family.
In love with jazz
From three years old Susana sang at all family celebrations and friendly gatherings, she instantly entered into the image that she invented for herself, copied famous artists, and reproduced their vocal parts by ear. Papa Alim regularly brought home folk music – Crimean Tatar, Iranian, Azerbaijani … Therefore, Jamala still considers his parents to be the first teachers and authorities in the singer Jamalamir. Even before going to bed, mother put a record for her daughter so that she calmly fell asleep. As soon as the music ended on one side, the girl woke up and started to cry.
Susana was lucky to meet the arranger Gennady Asstaturyan, who instilled in her a love of jazz art. At first he made the girl listen to the recordings of the great Ella Fitzgerald. Of course, such non-childish vocals were at first a burden to young Jamal. But Gennady did not depart from the planned plan. Once he gave her a cassette of Ella’s songs and told her to memorize by the next meeting. Susana did not know English then, but this did not stop her teacher. The beginning singer had to learn all the songs by ear, taking up the matter with maximum responsibility. When she came to Asstaturyan to perform jazz compositions, he did not even listen, giving her a new cassette. He knew very well that persistent Susana would learn it. Thanks to such preparation, she entered the Simferopol College of Music without any problems. In class, the girl studied classics, and then hurried to the basement, where she played in her jazz band Tutti.
In search of a teacher
The next stage in the life path of Jamala was the Kiev National Music Academy, where she entered the opera vocal class. But there, the girl had to face serious problems, the singer Jamala because of which she wanted to quit training several times. The fact is that due to the authoritarian pedagogical approach of one of the teachers, Susana often had a nonsense connection on her nerves, and she lost her voice. The teacher allowed herself to insult the student, told her that her voice was only suitable for shouting at the beach: “Kebabs!” As a result, the girl switched to another teacher – Natalia Gorbatenko. After that, she became the best student on the course and graduated from the academy with honors.
The new wave of Jamala
She immediately made an offer, which not every graduate receives. Susana was invited to work at the Swiss Opera House. But her boyfriend, the first and crazy love, did not want to let the girl go. Even invited her to marry him in order to keep her in Ukraine, but she did not want to start a family in such a situation. Jamala dreamed of going on an internship at the La Scala theater in Milan and devoting her life to opera. However, fate decreed otherwise.
Jamala participated in song contests from the age of 15. At the international exhibition “Voices of the Future” in Nizhny Novgorod, she won the grand prix. But the turning point in the creative life of the singer was 2009 and the victory in the contest “New Wave” in Jurmala. She presented to the public and the jury a cover version of the song “History Repeating” by the British band Propellerheads, performed the Ukrainian folk song “Vershe, my verse” and her own song “Mama’s son”.
After such success, Jamala began to actively tour, participate in television shows and received the “Person of the Year” award in the “Idol of Ukrainians” nomination.