Where the Caspian sea meets the Caucasus mountains lives the Republic of Dagestan. The most ethnically diverse corner of Russia, Dagestan is a place rarely explored by outsiders and only minimally administered by the national government. As ethnic Russians make up less than 4% of the population, Dagestan is a mix of dozens of different cultures and languages singing and fighting for respect.
The rocky terrain impedes modernization and helps preserve these traditions, but also provides shelter for guerrilla groups, whose drawn-out battles for independence have haunted the region for decades. Here we explore the many colours of Dagestani music, incorporating Central Asian and Middle Eastern melodies with a view to the north and the west. May these myriad rhythms help bring the people together, and make it known to the government that diversity should be celebrated.