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Artist Profiles: Ensemble Shanbehzadeh

Ensemble Shanbehzadeh

Ensemble Shanbehzadeh plays traditional music of the Persian Gulf, from the town of Boushehr. Songs, dances, music and rhythms. The music of Bushehr is an amalgam of the traditions of Persians, Arabs, African and Indian, who met centuries ago at this cultural crossroads in the south of Iran on the edge of the Persian Gulf. This diversity is the result of an astonishing richness of traditions, where the music plays a vital part in all the aspects of the life: religion, work, social events, dramas and fears.

The Ensemble, directed by Saeid Shanbehzadeh has delighted audiences in Iran, Europe and North America with the rhythms and subtle melodies of this astonishing music.

The principal instruments include Neyanban (Iranian bagpipe), Neyjofti (double flute), Dammam (percussion with double face), Zarbetempo (percussions), traditional flute, Senj (kind of cymbal), Boogh (horn). Saied Shanbehzadeh plays the neyanban (Iranian bagpipe) and presents the music of Bushehr, Iran, where he was born, including wedding music, love songs and religious pieces, with moods ranging from celebration to meditation and trance-inducing rhythms.

Ensemble Shanbehzadeh

The Bushehri region in southern Ian is a cultural center. For centuries, Persian, Arab, African and Indian influences have encountered one another there, leaving their mark on the music too. And this diversity of influences, especially its black roots, has been an inspiration above all to the singer and bandleader, who has been living in France for several years now. He leads an ensemble of Iranian and French musicians who are devoted to playing an eclectic mix of traditional rhythms and jazz, with strains of the nayanban, a type of bagpipes made of lambskin. Their drive shows that Iranian music more than a mix of the mystical and the melancholic: it is also an invitation to let go and celebrate.

Saeid Shanbehzadeh started playing music at the age of seven in his native town of Bushehr in the south of Iran, with the old masters of the music of the region. He began with percussion, singing, then learning the neyanb?nn (pipes), neydjofti (double flute) and traditional dance.

At 20 he founded the group the Shanbehzadeh Ensemble and won the first prize at the ?Fajr? Festival in Tehran in 1990. He also continues to do research and write articles on the music of Southern Iran, which are published in Iranian newspapers. In 1996 he was invited by the University of Toronto to teach for six months and he was named in 1998 the professor and director of the House of Culture, Music and the Arts of the Isle of Kish in Iran. He has composed music for and acted in several Iranian films.

Naghib Shanbehzadeh: tombak, zarbetempo – He started to learn music in Bushehr and in Kish with his father at the age of three and plays the traditional percussion of Southern Iran (damm?m, doholgap, pipe, kesser, tempo). He has worked for two years on the Tombak in Tehran with the master Mahmoud Farahmand.