Pedram Khavar Zamini, one of the world’s leading Iranian tombak players, has been living in France for few years now. Tombak is the main percussion instrument in classical Persian music, and Pedram is considered to be one of the most innovative players.
He started to learn playing the tombak alongside masters Kamyar Mohabbat and Bahman Rajabi. Pedram was a talented student.
Pedram founded his own tombak percussion group, named “Varashan”. He released his debut album “Koutah”, featuring compositions by Pedram for tombak, with Hamid Ghambary, which was produced in Iran and Europe.
Because of his rhythmical knowledge and his technique, he collaborated with important classical Persian musicians such as Sharam Nazeri, Dariush Talai, Kayhan Kalhor and Ali Akbar Moradi.
From 2002 to 2004, he toured the United States with Kayhan Kalhor’s Ensemble, organized by the World Music Institute, and in Germany with George Petrov and Ross Daly for the “Bowed Instrument Festival”.
After meeting with Ross Daly in Germany, Pedram decided to leave Iran and join Ross in Greece. He recorded “Iris” with and under the direction of Ross Daly, which was a meeting point of Pedram with some very popular artists from India and Iran: Dhruba Ghosh, Partha Sarathi Mukherjee, Hamid Khabazi, along with the Greek virtuosos Vasilis Rakopoulos, Kelli Thoma, Giorgis Xylouris.
Pedram also became a member of the Labyrinth group, led by Ross Daly. Always eager to explore in different musical worlds, Pedram, so far, has met and played with numerous gifted musicians for all around the globe such as Habil Aliev, Mohamad Rahim Khushnawaz, Dariush Talai, Sharam Nazeri, Djamchid Chemirani, Ballake Sissoko, Zohar Fresco, Kelly Thoma, Ellika Frisell, Dhruba Gosh, Khaled, Hossein Arman, Giorgos Xylouris, Siamak Aghaie, Stelios Petrakis, Vassilis Stavrakakis, etc. He has also recorded CDs with celebrated musicians such as Habil Aliev and Mohamad Rahim Khushnawaz.
Since 2005, he has developed his career as a soloist. In 2008, he recorded a CD with Siwan Project (Jon Balke, Amina Alaoui, Jon Hassell) on the the ECM label. As a result of this project, Jon Hassell invited Pedram to play with his band Marifa’s street for some concerts in Norway.
Pedram created the Abi Trio (Blue Trio) with Siamak Aghaie (santur) and Hamid Ghanbary (percussion), using the traditional Persian repertoire but giving a bigger role to percussion.
His dazzling tombak technique, coupled with his Persian, Indian, Turkish, and Jazz musical influences have given him the privilege of being a unique tombak player.
Pedram knows how to mix the traditional Iranian foundation with his own modern patterns. Through this alchemy, he creates new sounds. He has an extremely developed sense of improvisation.
“One of the foremost exponents of the younger generation is definitely Pedram khavarzamini who studied for many years with the great Master Bahman Rajabi,” said Ross Daly. “Pedram, apart from having worked extensively with major Iranian artists as both a soloist and accompanist, has also done a lot of groundbreaking work with ensembles of exclusively percussion instruments. The percussion group Koutah which he founded is without doubt at the forefront of what is in fact a new development in Iranian music which promises to open up many new avenues of expression in an already rich tradition.”
* Dar gozar, with Reza Fayaz (Kargah-e-mouseghi, 1998)
* Koutah (Avay-e-doost, 1999)
* Soor-va-soog, with Jahan Giri (Khane Honar, 2000)
* Dar khane aftab, with Reza Fayaz (Hozey-e-honari, 2001)
* Iris, with Ross Daly (Protasis, 2003)
* Zikr, with Kjetil Selvik (Etnisk Musikklubb, 2004)
* Ston Anamniseon Tin Exoria, with Mitsos Stavrakakis (Seistron Music, 2005)
* Ey ke Deldari, with Mohsen Keramati (Beethoven, 2006)
* Koutah (Seistron Music, 2006)
* Siwan (ECM, 2008)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.