>2nd Chechen Video Shoot

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I m toast. I can’t even think I am so tired. Today started off with rehearsal at Ministry of Culture. After that, I went to get changed where Aimani keeps costumes for herself and her ensemble.

After myself and all the backup dancers and singers got changed – we went to the location to shoot the video. Ibrashka was the cameraman.

Before we could shoot, Aimani’s assistant Idris had to run down the hill and shoo the grazing cows away to another location.
There were cows everywhere.
I am nervous – trying to practice my lyrics and dance moves.
It was also crazy windy today.
I get a lesson from Aiman on how I need to spin – because mine looks crazy.
Aimani is directing the shoot.
I finally pull my spins off. Yes!
My friends from Aimani’s ensemble.
Shooting a scene.
My friends in the dance group.
And the part I am most proud of – I can finally pull off the move that EVERY Chechen singer that performs on the big stage can do.
YES!! Progress.
The video will air on Sunday for the holiday ” Day of Chechen Language”
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>Aimani Aidamirova Concert

>Well, I did it. I performed a duet with Aimani at her concert tonight. I was so nervous because I didn’t know what to expect – and when I found out what a big event it was about 20 minutes before I went on….I really went into a tailspin.

Madina was texting me from the audience. She told me that they were waiting for the president to arrive, and also – Shamsail was there. This is what made me most nervous because I didn’t expect him to be there and he is the one who gave me this job here. I don’t want to let him down and I didn’t want to embarrass him on stage. I was shaking!
I was so nervous that my mouth was trembling when I actually went on tage and was singing – I hope the cameras didn’t pick that up. There was also one point at the end of our routine where a dancer is spinning with a Chechen flag and a Canadian flag and Aimani and I are also spinning along side him. OMFG! I forgot to look at only 1 spot while spinning because I was too high strung and when we stopped spinning I almost passed out! My eyes went crossed and and I let out a small yelp an all I was thinking was – DON’T FALL!!! I could only see Shamsail’s face in my head while praying not to pass out at the concert of the year on stage- hahahaha.

Here I am after the concert with one of Aimani’s dancers.
And yesterday when I was about the shoot the news in the studio – Amina Akmadova and Asyet Abubakarova came to shoot a new music video. I took their photo…
Nothing more to say tonight except – I am too tired to think straight. I have a lot to do tomorrow and I am nervous about going to this lovzar party. I better practice dancing!

>The Last week of February 2010

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This week started with the culture segment of my show at the airport. I worked there for 2 days – I was so tired by Wednesday…but I had to keep going. In this photo I’m with the director of Grozny Airport, Ruslan Gambulatov.
Here is the final version of the episode – it is one of my favorites.

Onto my new shoes…………………………………

By Thursday I had to meet Aimani Aidamirova and return the dress I borrowed from her. She asked me to perform in her concert next Sunday March 7th! She wrote a duet for us! It is so cool. She also told me that I needed to be at rehearsal several days next week. I had to buy these special shoes that the dancers wear. They only cost 100 rubles ( $3.00 ) but these are my favourite pair of shoes EVER. All the dancers wear them …. and now I do too.
YES!!!!!! I am a going to be a dancer….or – at least learn some hot moves to get me through my upcoming stage performance.
And speaking of stage performances…..I had to record the song today that Aimani and I are singing on Sunday at her concert. We went to Deni Satabaev’s place to do it. What a dream come true!!! Singing with Aimani Aidamirova and working with Deni Satabaev!!

Aimani Aidamirova

Deni Satabaev

And Illyas Aiyubov stopped by as well. I love his music – he is an awesome singer. He is having a concert on March 8th.

Illyas Aiyubov and I

Me and Deni

>The Chechen Grammy’s

>What a weekend this has been. It all started on Wednesday when Tamilla who is the secretary for the TV station president asked me if I was going to the music awards that weekend. At this point I hadn’t even heard of this event – the Chechen Grammy’s. I was like…no. I told her to get me tickets. She said they are hard to get … just come into the theatre on Saturday. It is an official event that the president will be attending. She already had her evening gown prepared!

On Thursday I went to see Artyr at the TV station regarding work and I asked him if he had tickets to the event. Of course he did because Grozny TV is in charge of this event. He gave me 4 tickets.

At about 6.30 pm on Thursday, I get a call from Artyr and Tamilla speaking very quickly and saying something about my music video…I thought. I thought they were asking me if they could play it at the awards. However, aftr they called Madina and Ibbi – it all became clear. They were requesting that I perform at this event in national costume. At first I said no, and then I said yes…and then the next 2 days of panicking started.
On Friday I needed a national costume. Artur suggested a couple of the high end Chechen designers, but I decided to just call Aimani Aidamirova. She is sure to have the best dresses for stage in all of the republic. She agreed . I went to the srudio where she has them made.
There were tonnes of national costumes here. But I ended up wearing one of her personal ones!
I chose a black and gold outfit. It was too short on the bottom and the arms were not long enough so Aimani and her assistant ended up making alterations on it immediately.
So, since this was not live singing at the show, all I had to do was remember the words and move my mouth. I went to rehearsal at the grand concert hall, and then I went with Aimani to get changed and have make-up done.
Finally, at about 4;45pm we arrived at the concert hall. All the performers had to be in separate cars to get out and walk the red carpet. My car was last. But…. while waiting for the red carpet thing to start, the hosts of the show and Ibbi and I just sat in a big limo and drank ice tea.
and of course I was on the phone with Madina – who was already inside the concert hall.
I admit, my outfit was really over the top – but isn’t that what being on stage is for? Hahhahah.
I did my performance, and now I am relieved. It was my first stage performance singing in Chechen. The president was there, his wife, the mayor of Grozny and Gudermes and every other official person you can imagine. There was also a film crew from France.

Anyway – I am glad it is over. Today is Sunday at 6.28am. I just woke up 20 minutes ago . I better go back to sleep because I have editing at 9.30am and the rest of the week I am slammed with work.

>A day with Aimani Aidamirova

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What a long day! Went to visit the Queen of Esharsh (Chechen music) at her house and film her. What a trip. She is so cool. Her home is gorgeous.
The morning started out the same as usual – Madina and I were starving and our stomach’s were growling so loud they were drowning out the interview. Then…the power went out – so we had to stop the interview. Aimani gave us a cake to eat! Yes!!!
Oh – did i forget to mention that we had the most eccentric cameraman today??!!! Yusup. He is AWESOME but very hyperactive – here he is making a fire at Aimani’s house.

1/3 through the day – Madina, Aimani and Yusup realized that they were all related somehow.

1/2 way throughthe day – Aimani decided to cook traditional Chechen lunch of animal guts, hingalsh and galnash. Guess what??/ I also had to cook with her. Hahahhhaa – I was so not prepared for this.

And here is Madina trying animal guts for the first time….

I think she liked it. To be honest – it sounds gross but it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t what I expected – in a good way.
OK – lunch is over, we’re off to check out her backyard where she had traditional Chechen towers built. Bur first – she gave me her coat to war – yes…another fur!!! I have never worn so much fur in my life!

The day is almost over – Aimani wants me to wear one of her dresses – so I do.
And just to make things authentic…………well, even more authentic – she gave me the antique water jug to carry water through her backyard. It looks cool – but it is very difficult ot carry this thing. I can’t imagine how heavy it is when full of water!!!!!

Here the strain is showing on my face…

Now – it is the end of the day. All interviews complete. All scenes filmed – Culture section for the show is complete and it’s only Monday.
Here is the final photo – me and Aimani’s 2 daughters ( she has 4 , but the other 2 weren’t home )