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Observations by Clement Bailly – No. 3
The Hajibeyov Sisters

Email from Clement Bailly, grandson of Jeyhun Hajibeyli [brother of Uzeyir Hajibeyov], who lives in Paris. Posted on with permission from the author.

To: Betty Blair, Editor of Azerbaijan International magazine and editor of, who lives in Los Angeles.

Issue: Researching the history of the Hajibeyov Family since so much was lost during the Soviet period and Uzeyir the composer was living in Baku while his brother, vehemently anti-Communist was forced to live in exile in Europe.

Occasion: Written a week after Clement’s return from his first trip to Baku on the occasion of the Azerbaijani World Congress meeting to which Clement was invited as a guest.
Date: November 20, 2001

Dearest Betty,
I am having some problems with the Internet today so I’ll try to send pictures tomorrow of my visit to Baku. Your idea to document this new research as on the site is great. Let’s do it.
Hajibeyov Sisters

I’ve just discovered that Hajibeyov brothers - Zulfugar, Jeyhun and Uzeyir – also had two sisters – Sayad Pashayeva (1872-1954) and Abu Hayat. Abu Hayat (1880-1951) was married but had no children.

[Added on Nov 23, 2001. I just had a long discussion about my aunt’s name ‘Abu Hayat’ with a linguist here in Paris. “Abu” in Arabic means “father”. “Abi” means “son”. But that doesn’t make sense for a woman’s name. But in Persian “Abi” means “water” and “hayat” means “life” so her name likely means “water of life,” which is the name of a river in Allah’s paradise. Supposedly if you drink this water you become immortal. “Sayad” means “hunter”, “sayed” means noble. Sayad is a descendent of Mohammad the Prophet. Unless we have those name written in Arabic script, there is no way to be sure. Maybe I’ll find references in Grandpa’s notes.

Agil Abbas, who is more of a poet than a scientist, told me that the Hadjibeylis are descendants of Mohammad through Ibrahim Khalil Khan. If true, it means I can wear the black turban. For a descendant of Joan of Arc (my mother’s side), that’s a quite interesting proposition. Actually, we are descended from Jean de la Hire, one of Joan D’Arc lieutenants. Joan D’Arc had descendants].

But Sayad had four children: Jamal, Jabbar, Mahbuba and Sehra. Jamal, in turn, had four children: Jamil, Kamal, Elmira, Dilara. Sehra had two children. Also I met Jamal’s children. I met Sehra’s children: Ziver, Dilbar and Ramiz (died in 1976). Ziver died in 1986. She didn’t have a family. She was the one who preserved information and pictures of Uzeyir and passed them over to Ramazan Khalilov to open the Home Museum in 1970s. I met Dilbar [Mammad-Ibrahim Ibrahimova]. She’s about 70 years old and seems to be in excellent health. Her daughter is Gulavshan khanim. That makes them my closest relatives (Before my trip two weeks ago, I didn’t even know they existed).

I asked Saadat Garabaghli [Director of the Hajibeyov Home Museum] why nobody ever mentions the Hajibeyov sisters. There was no answer. Probably because it’s a man, man, man’s world. None of these grandchildren is really involved professionally in music, but everybody sings and plays the piano.

Daghestanli – Jeyhun Hajibeyli
Interesting point that I discovered on the web site. In one of the “Leyli and Majnun” articles [Biography], it mentions that the Ibn Salam role in the premiere was played by a person called “D. Daghestanli”. It turns out that that is really a nickname that my Grandpa Jeyhun used while writing for the “Daily Kaspii” newspaper in 1913.

By the way, we should try to find a way to photograph the paintings and sketches that my grandfather Jeyhun has made. Great art. These pieces are sleeping in the archives. Ramiz Abutalibov [diplomat with history working in Paris beginning in the Soviet period] knows the story.

About the articles that were written up in Baku during my visit there two weeks ago. I think the guy who translated my speech was not very reliable or maybe it was the journalist’s fault. Actually, it’s quite funny. I never asked the Armenians to give me a visa to visit Karabakh. Also my mother was a jazz singer, not an actress. And the phrase, “My heart is in Baku, my head is in France (but not my brain),” is a quote from grandfather Jeyhun that I have borrowed. It’s not originally mine.

Those translators with me were not pros. I’m going to have to learn to speak Azeri soon. I wonder how the translations for TV programs turned out. My God!

[Added on November 23, 2001: Some people have done research about the Hajibeyovs and drawn on oral and written information about my ancestors. Maybe they’re right, Maybe not. I had this problem many times while doing research about Ancient Polynesian music. Who can you trust? My ethnography professors taught me a good trick. Ask a question, then go write down the answer. Come back later and ask the same question again. Write down the answer. Come a third time, ask the same question again, write that down. And then make a comparison. It is very time-consuming but it works, “it washes the dishes,” as we say.]

Take care,
November 20, 2001

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