Born Murtuza Raza Oglu Mammadov, Bulbul was a famous Azerbaijani and Soviet opera tenor, folk music performer, and one of the founders of vocal arts and national musical theatre in Azerbaijan.
He was known for his musical talent since his childhood, which is why people nicknamed him Bulbul ("nightingale" in Azerbaijani). He chose it as a stage name when he became involved in professional music. In his songs, Bulbul was able to blend national manners of performance with traditions of Italian vocal school.
Bulbul was the first musician to publish study guides and manuals used in teaching students how to play the tar, kamancheh and Balaban, traditional musical instruments of Azerbaijan. Bulbul was awarded the highest order of the Soviet Union – the USSR State Prize, as well as the "Stella di Garibaldi" order in Italy.
In 2008 the Central Bank of Azerbaijan minted a 100-manat gold commemorative coin dedicated to Bulbul. The coin depicts a portrait of Bulbul in the centre within a circle along with his name on the right and 13 arc decorations. The outer circle has an inscription in Azerbaijani which reads the Republic of Azerbaijan and denomination value. The reverse of the coin depicts three musicians playing musical instruments in front of 2 plants.
In 1998 Azerbaijani Post issued a special commemorative stamp worth 500 Manat which depicts a standing profile of the musician with a famous Building in the background. The stamp was issued to commemorate the Birth Centenary of Bul-Bul.
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