Tag Archives: Iranian music

Artist Profiles: Kayhan Kalhor

Kayhan Kalhor

Kamancheh virtuoso and composer Kayhan Kalhor was born in Tehran (Iran). He began his musical studies at the age of seven. Kayhan Kalhor performed with the prestigious National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Iran and the Shayda Ensemble of the Chavosh Cultural Center while still a teenager.

Deeply devoted to the Iranian classical repertoire (radif), Kayhan Kalhor was further inspired to study regional folkloric traditions, which added additional dimensions to his improvisations and acted as springboards for cross-cultural explorations.

Since then, Kalhor has performed and recorded with Iran’s greatest instrumentalists and singers, including Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri, and toured the world as a soloist.

He co-founded the Dastan, Ghazal: Persian & Indian Improvisations, and Masters of Persian Music ensembles and has appeared with the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de Lyon.

He was the featured soloist on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth, a score on which he collaborated with Osvaldo Golijov.

Kayhan Kalhor is an original member of Yo-Yo Ma’s acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble and his works are heard on all of the ensemble’s albums.

Discography

* Eastern Apertures (1995)
* Lost Songs of the Silk Road, Ghazal (Shanachie, 1997)
* Scattering Stars Like Dust (Traditional Crossroads, 1998)
* As Night Falls on the Silk Road, with Ghazal (Shanachie, 1998)
* Through Eternity, with Dastan (Sounds True, 1999)
* Moon Rise over the Silk Road, with Ghazal (Shanachie, 2000)
* Night Silence Desert, with Mohammed Reza Shajarian (Traditional Crossroads, 2000)
* Caravan, with Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch Records, 2000)
* Silk Road Journeys, with Yo-Yo Ma and Silk Road Ensemble (Sony Classical, 2001)
* Without You, with Masters of Persian Music (World Village, 2002)
* The Rain, with Ghazal(ECM, 2003)
* Beyond the Horizon, Silk Road Ensemble (Sony Classical, 2004)
* In the Mirror of the Sky, with Ali Akbar Moradi (World Village, 2004)
* Faryad, with Masters of Persian Music (World Village, 2005)
* The Wind, with Erdal Erzincan (ECM, 2006)
* New Impossibilities, with Silk Road Ensemble (Sony Classical, 2007)
* Silent City (World Village, 2008)
* Off the Map, with Silk Road Ensemble (2009)
* Voices of the Shades, Madjid Khaladj (2011)
* I Will Not Stand Alone, with Ali Bahrami Fard (World Village, 2012)
* Kula Kulluk Yakişir Mi, with Erdal Erzincan (2013)
* Sing me home, with Silk Road Ensemble (Sony Masterworks, 2016)
* Hawiniyaz (Harmonia mundi, 2016)

Video

The Music of Strangers, with Silk Road Ensemble (2016)

Web site: www.kayhankalhor.net

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Artist Profiles: Hossein Alizadeh

Hossein Alizadeh

Hossein Alizadeh, born in Tehran (Iran) in 1951, studied with various masters of traditional Persian music including Ali Akbar Khan Shahnazi, Nur Ali Borumand, Abdollah Davami, Mahmood Karimi, and Houshang Zarif.

He further expanded his formal education by studying composition and musicology at the University of Berlin. Alizadeh was awarded a position with the National Orchestra of Iran and later became the conductor and soloist of the Iranian National Radio and Television Orchestra.

He founded the Aref Ensemble and performed with the Shayda Ensemble, both dedicated to the promotion and advancement of Iranian classical music, and participated in the orchestra of the Bejart Ballet Company in a performance of Gulistan by Maurice Bejart.

In 2000, the Ministry of Culture in Iran declared him to be the best contemporary artist. He has composed many works of contemporary and neo-classical Iranian music and published a number of etudes for tar and setar.

Notable works include Hessar, Ney Nava and Song of Compassion, as well as film scores for Gabbeh, A Time for Drunken Horses and Turtles Can Fly. In addition, he recorded the entire body of the radif based on the interpretation of Mirza Abdollah.

He has performed extensively throughout the United States of America, Europe and Asia and taught at the University of Tehran, Tehran Music Conservatory and the California Institute of the Arts.

His album Endless Vision received a Grammy nomination for Best World Music Album of 2006.

in 2016 he toured with percussionist Pejman Hadadi.

Discography

* Homayun

* Nava (Mahoor Institute, 1976)

* Paykubi (Mahoor Institute, )

* Chahargah & Bayat-e Tork (Mahoor Institute, )

* Savaran-e Dasht-e Omid (Riders of the Plain of Hope)(1977)

* Hamnavayi (Mahoor Institute, )

* Hesar (1977)

* Osyan (Revolt) (1983)

* Dream (1986)

* Torkaman (Mahoor Institute, 1986)

* Raz-o-Niaz (Mahoor Institute, 1986)

* Alizadeh Live at the Los Angeles Festival (Kereshmeh Records, 1995)

* NeyNava / Song of Compassion (Kereshmeh Records, 1995)

* Raz-O-Niaz (Kereshmeh Records, 1995)

* Shourangiz (Song of Campassion) (Mahoor Institute, 1988)

* Iranian Music: Saz-Eno (Buda Musique, 1998)

* Raz-e No (New Secret) (Mahoor Institute, 1999)

* Zemestan ast (It’s Winter) (Soroush Co., 2000)

* Masters of Improvisation (2002)

* Without You (World Village, 2002)

* Sallaneh (Mahoor Institute, 2003)

* Faryad (World Village, 2005)

* Endless Vision (World Village, 2006)

* Ode To Flowers, with Hamavayan Ensemble (Ba Music Records, 2007)

* Half Moon (Ba Music Records, 2009)

* Echoes of Light with Madjid Khaladj (Ba Music Records, 2009)

* Birthplace of Earth, with Hamavayan Ensemble (Ba Music Records, 2010)

* Eşqim Gəl, with Hamavayan Ensemble (2014)

web site: www.hosseinalizadeh.net

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Artist Profiles: Fariborz Azizi

Fariborz Azizi

Fariborz Azizi was born in Tehran (Iran) in 1961. He has performed on tar and setar for more than 30 years. Before devoting himself to classical Persian music, he obtained a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Tehran University.

He first became attracted to music during his teenage years listening to the radio show Golchin Hafteh. He was heavily influenced by Chavosh musical masters including Hossein Alizadeh, who has been his master for more than 10 years.

Since 2006, he lives in Los Angeles where he teaches tar and setar classes, holds lectures, performs concerts and composes traditional and contemporary Persian music.

website: fariborzazizi.com

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Artist Profiles: Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh

Vocalist Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh was born in 1964, studied under the supervision of Mohammad Reza Shajarian, a living legend in Iranian classical music. He has performed with various renowned artists and groups, including the Shams Ensemble, the Aref Ensemble, the Ukraine Philharmonic Orchestra, and the great santur maestro Faramarz Payvar.

He performed with Kayhan Kalhor at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, and is currently the director of Iran’s House of Music. He made his New York debut at Zankel Hall at Carnegie in the fall of 2008.

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Artist Profiles: Hamid Reza Taqavi

Hamid Reza Taqavi, born in 1976 in Iranian Azerbaijan, began playing santur at the age of 11 under the direction of Ibrahim Safari and continued his studies with Master Parviz Meshkatian and renowned santur player Ardavan Kamkar. In addition to Persian traditional music, he is also versed in modern music techniques. He joined the Shams Ensemble in 2001.

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Artist Profiles: Alireza Ghorbani

Alireza Ghorban

Vocalist Alireza Ghorbani, born in 1972, began studying the Persian classical repertoire (radif) at the age of 12 with such masters as Mehdi Fallah, Hossein Omoumi and Ahmad Ebrahimi. His later work with Ali Tajvidi and Farhad Fakhre’ddini opened new horizons as he experimented with art songs (tasnif) from radio broadcasts of the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1999, he joined Farhad Fakhre’ddini’s National Iranian Orchestra as lead vocalist, performing in Iran and abroad. His warm, resonant voice and songs that speak to the spirit of the times in Iran have made him particularly popular. He has made many recordings and collaborated with Majid Derakhshani, Sadeq Cheraghi, Pezhman Taheri, Houshang Kamkar, the National Iranian Orchestra, and the Shams Ensemble.

On Rapture, Alireza Ghorbani collaborates with Tunisian singer Dorsaf Hamdani for the first time. It presents a dialog between the Arabic and Persian cultures.

Discography:

Ivresses / Rapture (Accords Croisés, 2011)

Eperdument (Accords Croises, 2015)

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Artist Profiles: Sahba Motallebi

Sahba Motallebi
Sahba Motallebi

Sahba Motallebi is recognized internationally as a modern expert of the Iranian tar and setar, lute-type stringed instruments that are essential to one of the world’s great musical traditions. Sahba started studying music as a young girl in Sari, a small coastal city in the north of Iran.

In 1993, at the age of 14, she initiated her studies at the Tehran Conservatory of Music, where she was recognized as Best Tar Player at the Iranian Music Festival for four consecutive years.

After graduating in 1997, Sahba Motallebi helped found the pioneering women’s music ensemble Chakaveh. In 1999, Motallebi was invited to join the Iranian National Orchestra.

In 2003, Motallebi left Iran to pursue graduate studies in music in Russia, Turkey, and the United States and has lived near Los Angeles for the past years. She continues to perform worldwide, and has released several CDs and published two books on Iranian classical music.

Sahba Motallebi is also much-admired as an innovator in music education, with her online instructional materials and courses reaching students throughout the world.

Discography:

Presentation of Young Artists (2003)
Dashti-Nava (2005)
Solace of the eyes (2006),
Ever lasting songs of Iran Vol. I & II (2001)
Ancient Heritage anew (2011)
Dream and Illusion (2012)
A Tear at the Crossroad of Time (2014)

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The Impassioned Splendor of Mahsa Vahdat

Mahsa Vahdat a cappella – The Sun Will Rise (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2016)

Okay, I am going to lapse into my inner icky fangirl for a moment or two. One of my favorite record labels, the Oslo, Norway based Kirkelig Kulturverksted and one of my favorite producers, Kirkelig Kulturverksted’s very own Erik Hillestad have put out The Sun Will Rise with the stunning Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat.
For anyone who has read some of my reviews I have a longstanding devotion to female Iranian singers like Ms. Vahdat, her sister Marjan Vahdat, Azam Ali, Parisa and Mamak Khadem.

Mahsa Vahdat is a particular favorite for her collaborations on the Lullabies from the Axis of Evil and recordings such as Songs from a Persian Garden, Traces of an Old Vineyard, I am Eve with Marjan Vahdat, Twinklings of Hope also with Marjan Vahdat, A Deeper Tone of Longing: Love Duets Across Civilizations with Mighty Sam McClain and Sent of Reunion: Love Duets Across Civilizations also with Mighty Sam McClain.

With a voice that is as rich as it is expressive, Mahsa Vahdat is the certainly the gold standard for Iranian vocalists and so it comes as no surprise that Ms. Vahdat would craft and entirely a cappella recording. What is the real surprise of The Sun Will Rise are the extraordinary lengths Ms. Vahdat, Mr. Hillestad and crew took to dazzle listeners.

Delving into a wealth of poetry from likes of Forough Farrokhzad, Rumi, Saadi, Mohammad Ebrahim Jafari, Aref Ghazvini and others, Ms. Vahdat takes her hauntingly graceful vocals on the road to record a cappella in venues like the barrel-vaulted mausoleum of painter Emanuel Vigeland at The Emanuel Vigeland Museum in Oslo, Norway; the Eglise Saint-Claude in Provence, France; the Iglesia de Santa Maria in Requena, Spain; and the Palacios Nazaries in La Alhambra in Granada, Spain; as well as venues in Poland and Turkey. Restricted from performing publicly in Iran, Ms. Vahdat chose to seek out those ancient places where her vocals would rise up ancient walls, age worn bricks and history steeped ceilings. The effect is glorious.

With snippets of the captured sounds of passing birds, water trickling through fountains and the occasional bell, The Sun Will Rise is quite simply strikingly lovely. Ms. Vahdat’s achingly poignant vocals echo throughout The Emanuel Vigeland Museum on opening title track “The Sun Rises” so that the listener can’t help but be enchanted.

Moving through such tracks as “My Eyes Brim with the Sea” with lyrics taken the 14th century poet Iranian Hafez at the Eglise Saint-Claude in Provence to “Show Your Face” with poetry from the 13th century Persian poet Rumi and sung in the Iglesia de Santa Maria in Spain to “The Pair of Your Hair” with poetry from the 11th century Persian poet Baba Taher and recorded in the Crimea Memorial Church in Istanbul, Turkey, The Sun Will Rise is enchanting.

Completely devoid of gimmicks or artifice, Ms. Vahdat’s vocals implore, revere and appeal to the greater grace on each of the 21 tracks of The Sun Will Rise.

Listeners are treated to everything from the wideness of cathedral spaces to the most intimate of spaces with equal measures of clarity of sound and the impassioned splendor of Ms. Vahdat’s vocals.

Stunningly spare, Mahsa Vahdat never sounded so richly worked as in this recording.

Buy The Sun Will Rise in the Americas

Buy The Sun Will Rise in Europe

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Maestro Hossein Alizadeh with Pejman Hadadi to Perform Mystical Persian Music in New York

Hossein Alizadeh
Hossein Alizadeh

Hossein Alizadeh, a master of the tar and setar lutes, and Pejman Hadadi one of the most innovative Iranian percussionists are set to perform on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. at Roulette in New York.

Alizadeh, deemed one of the most important figures in contemporary Persian music, has had a successful solo career, performing both in Iran and throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He was the conductor and soloist in the Iranian National Orchestra of Radio and Television, established the acclaimed Aref Ensemble, and worked with the Shayda Ensemble.

Alizadeh’s discography includes Echoes of Light, Birds, If Like Birds and Angels, I Could fly…, Ney Nava Plus Avay-E Mehr Nowruz & Savaran-E Dasht, Torkaman, Monad, Endless Vision, Half Moon, and Art of Improvisation.

Pejman Hadadi has been a member of the admired Dastan Ensemble for 20 years, and collaborated with numerous master musicians of Persian and world music traditions.

Time: 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Roulette
509 Atlantic Avenue at 3rd Avenue
Downtown Brooklyn
917-267-0363

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Persian Music Sensation Mamak Khadem Talks About Her Upcoming Performance at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2011

Mamak Khadem
Mamak Khadem, one of the great voices of the Persian music tradition is scheduled to perform Sunday, July 10th at 19:00 at the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak (Malaysia).

You will be performing at the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) in July 2011. What material will you be presenting there?

The concert will include pieces from “A Window To Color,” my new album that is coming out very soon; Jostojoo, the previous album; and a couple of songs from Axiom Of Choice.”

Can you tell us about the band you will be taking to the Rainforest World Music Festival?

The ensemble is my usual fusion ensemble: Hamid Saeidi on santoor, Jamshied Sharifi on Keyboards, Ole Mathisen on clarinet and sax, and Ben Whittman on percussion.”

On Sunday, May you had a special concert in Los Angeles featuring Omar Faruk Tekbilek as a guest. Will you be collaborating more with him in the future?

We had such a great performance and amazing connection. We are thinking about it and hope we can find ways to do it again.”

Your album Jostojoo came out in 2007. Are you working on any new recordings?

“The new album is just about out. It’s called “a Window To Color” and is based on the poetry of late Sohrab Sepehri (1928-1980).”

Mamak Khadem shared a copy of what is in the liner notes:

{“If you are coming to see me, pray tread slowly, gently, lest the fragile china of my solitude may crack.” That is how painter/poet Sohrab Sepehri preferred to be approached. A mystic and a seasoned world traveler, he never lost touch with his Persian roots. His vision was inspired by simplicity and an openness to seeing the Creator in all things.

His God was in nature, and the wonders instilled by its emanation. His poems, reflecting his deep innermost feelings and perceptions, depict sometimes in autobiographical strokes, stages of a “voyage from seed to flower.” His brush on canvas and his pen on paper moved to embody this vision in poetic form. He was “the wayfarer,” the “lover who was always alone,” translating his experiences of life into word and color.}

Born in Iran, Mamak Khadem was part of the Children’s Choir for National Radio and Television, and emigrated to the United States as a teenager in 1976. After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, her passion for singing and learning traditional Persian vocal styles grew.

She was inspired by works of master musicians in the 1980s and regularly traveled back to Iran to study with prominent vocalists and musicians. She also studied classical Indian singing at Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in northern California and Eastern European singing with the Los Angeles-based women’s choir Nevenka.

In 1992, Mamak joined world music group Axiom of Choice, and over the next ten years created three albums with the group. After Axiom of Choice, Khadem embarked on a solo career and in 2007 released a solo recording titled Jostojoo (Forever Seeking). Inspired by her travels throughout the Middle East, Khadem adapted Persian poetry to rearranged traditional melodies from various regions of Iran, Baluchistan, Armenia, Turkey, Greece and Kurdistan.

Recordings available:

More about the the Rainforest World Music Festival: rainforestmusic-borneo.com

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