By: Artin Amirian
Los Angeles, California
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
On Saturday, Oct 3 2009, I walked into the Ebell Theatre to see “Hamed Nikpay’s all is calm on the road” concert with no pre-conceived notions, I had heard a few of his songs but live performance is absolutely a different experience and can be tense and unsatisfying. I walked in there with curiosity and doubt, wondering about the musical arrangements, instrumentation and setup.
8:30ish Hamed started his journey. Being a performer myself, it was what I have been waiting to see after a decade of listening to music in diverse genres. I had always imagined and fantasized about the clash of Persian traditional music and Flamenco; and the big question was, how would anyone fuse them so that the final sound would be a harmonious blend while respecting the foundation of both genres? What Hamed created that night was a perfect, refined fusion of two styles; and after such a long wait, I found my answer in a performance which was created, conducted and performed by Hamed Nikpay.
An unbelievable representation of instruments, simple setup, casual stage, witty smiles and a fusion of Cordoba and Kordestan, all the way. It would start with a powerful percussion, while all bits and pieces of your body would start shivering with the magic touch of Greg Ellis; Farzin would steal your attention and fly you on the wind of his sax; while lost in the ancient lands, and eastern wonders, far from expectation, would enter the arpeggio of vibrations, the flamenco tunes crafted by Dan, how delicate and harmonious it was.
Not too far from the wind, jimmy would add the earthy dilemma to the harmony and above all would come the uniting sound of all, the madness, the lost Dervish, the eternity, the liberating sound of setar and the visionary behind it all– Hamed Nikpay. Hamed connected the dots, eternal harmony of love, vengeance, freedom, poetry, protest and nostalgia all gathered in a cozy gathering. Crescendo would raise you to the trance of non-tangibility, to the weightless high, injected by the familiar voice being conceived from old lands of Cordoba and Kordestan. The rush would build up as the song would linger and I would be lost in the resonance of tunes flying around, the words would penetrate into your soul, the audacity of the instruments would justify the madness and at the end…….. all was calm, calm as an instrumental nostalgic performance of the song moments “lahzeha” dedicated to “mother”.
This was the lost world, the missing link, the connection between me and the fire within. I got out of the theatre bewildered and lost, I couldn’t focus on my words, the instruments were still playing in my head and the nostalgic feeling of discovering Hamed’s music created a cluster of vague satisfaction around my musical curiosity.
Hamed’s mastery of his instruments, his multi-dimensional knowledge of musical genres, and his courage to break all traditional formalities in Persian music by creating a progressive, and surreal music, enabled him to bring together an incomparable assemblage of cultures and customs. One that as novel as it is, sounded as mature as the cultures it represented– flamenco and Persian traditional music.
Hamed is a musician that holds a bright future in the fusion music and he will have the chance to introduce the richness of Persian music to the world. This is how cultures get integrated and affirmed globally– by the free spirited, pioneering musicians, writers and poets.
I can’t wait to hear more from Hamed, and see him grow into a force behind the avant-garde movement in Persian traditional music.