Saturday, May 12, 2007

Iranian Experience (2)

Endless Vision ...

Okey ... now I am not presenting my experiences chronologically. In fact, I discovered the Endless Vision just today! I bought the CD from Tehran's international book fair (about which I will write soon) last week, but I only had a chance to listen to it today. I bought the CD because it was the new work by Hossein Alizadeh and Jivan Gasparyan: a fusion of traditional Persian and Armenian music; and nominated for the Grammy award in 2006. One can never go wrong buying any work by Alizadeh. The Persian title of the Endless Vision album is "Watching the White Waters" ... it inspired me to take one hour off work and go listen to it by the river rapids.

Unfortunately I cannot write about music. But luckily for me TehranAvenue has a review of the concert and a few snippets of the songs. (Here's another review by Derek Beres.)

If you have not heard Alizadeh before, discovering Ney Nava is highly recommended.

I really don't know what music means, or what one can say about it. All I can say is I wish more people around the world will discover and enjoy Alizadeh's work.

Endless Vision is produced by the Hermes Records in Iran.

Read more about Iranian Classical Music


David said...

Naj, I have enjoyed listening to some Persian music in the past few years. I checked out the clips from Ney Nava. They were very different from other Persian music that I have heard. These were purely instrumental. Mostly, I have listened to vocalists backed up by instruments. In a way, these clips remind me of some Japanese music with a lot of drumming that I have heard.

Here is something that is partly music related that might interest you. Last week, I learned about an NPR broadcast titled "Iranian Alternative Culture". One of the guests was Arash Sobhani who created an underground rock band called Kiosk. Another of the guests was my friend Sanam Dolatshahi (aka Lady Sun or Korshid Khanoom in the blogosphere). If this sounds interesting, you can stream the archived program from this link:


Naj said...

Speaking of alternative culture, I did discover an underground artist as well and will write about him soon.

Ney Nava is unique. It is a symphonic production and thus different from other traditional Persian music by instrumentation (except for ney--or flute) Also, keep in mind that drums do have a place in Iranian music as well; they are more often heard in Ta'ziyeh (a passion play, re-enacting the events of Aashura- a pivotal moment in formation of shiism). However, they are rarely used in the style of traditional music you referred to. alternatively, you will often get the beat of Persian music from Daff, a very portable drum, and an instrument often associated with the "whirlings" of suffism! And there is of course Zarb another drum-like instrument played with fingers (which you won't hear in NeyNava).

One of the features of Alizadeh's work is to take Persian music beyond its traditional form and to create something modern (such as in NeyNava or the Birds Album or many sound tracks he has composed for TV or film.)

Alizadeh's instrument of choice is seh-tar.

Anonymous said...

There is a Spanish movie titled "vengo" (I come).

The film music consists of a variety of bands that play North African and Gypsy music.

I found the music of that movie hauntingly familiar; almost like a forgotten languages. The music was not Persian, but there was something of Iran in it (both the Gypsy and the North African). And when the young (gypsy?) women danced, it was like the Iranian women dancing!

Now, that assassinated (by the Persian Nobles) Sasanid Emperor, Bahram the Gur (Kur) had, according to legend, brought lories (gypsies) to Iran from India to entertain the common people.

And the Romansh people of today (what the Gypsies call themselves in Europe) still speak a North Indian language.

Many years ago, attending a recital of India music with a classically trained guitarist, I was told by him that he recognized the Flamenco melodies in the Indian music but they were being played at a different key & at a much slower tempo!

And we know that Sitar (Thirty-Strings) was invented in Iran and was adopted by Indians. And that Guitar was invented in Al Andulus by an Iranian and became Spanish.

And we know that the Gypsies of Spain, who gave the world Flamenco muses and dance, sing in analogous manner to Persians (chah cha-he).

I do not know who owes what to whom. Did the lories/gypsies teach the pre-Islamic Iranians their music, or did they learn from the Iranians? How did music travel from West to East, East to West, and back again from West to East?

Naj said...

I believe the Sassanid era has seen (encouraged) major musical progress, by way of mathematicizing it.

Who ows what to whom? ... That is the one question that concerns me the least! Music travels by air, and it expresses itself genomically. Certain tunes resonate with one's personal beat and some others do not. Music doesn't have an owner; the more ears it has touched and the more instruments it's shaken, the better! People who talk of pure or original music make me chuckle!

This is why I like concepts such as "Dead Can Dance."

Music, like philosophy, is perhaps another one of those ubiquities that has moved back and forth, and will continue to do so, between east and west.

The instruments (such a Organ and Piano) are perhaps the only music related entities than can claim nationality!

RickB said...

Hey, Welcome back Naj. I read you've been having a tough time. I hope things are working out ok. I've grabbed some of that music, I love the duduk, strangely it reminds me of celtic instruments. There's a montage made to the track Sari Galin on youtube

Amre El-Abyad said...

i disagree Naj.

Lute and harp are Egyptian inventions: recorded on Egyptian temples 5000 years ago.

Also Egyptians have the credit for putting down the first musical ladder (a five keys one) which is is very alive to this first day :

All the belly dancing tunes in Egypt and levant are comåposed of that ladder- which is very different from the faster and more sensual rytmes in Lybia and Algeria(Tunisian rythmes is very similar to Egyptian and levantine)

Babylonians were the first to have a sophisticated musical system(more complex than the relatively simpler Egyptian one) Babylonian music, along with that of the North Indian and Gypsy cousins of Persians formed Persian music which was later develped by medivaöl Arabs and mixed with other Arab tunes in Egypt, Syria, Morrocco and spain to create that most sophisticated and genious form of music" Arabic music"

ONE CORRECTION: Guitar was invented by an Arab not Persian the modern word GUITAR IS DERIVED FROM THE ARABIC INSTRUMENT " AL-Quitharah" which was invented by an Arab

Naj said...

Ah yes belly dancers!
Unfortunately we haven't got any of those!
The best belly-dancers of the world are in deed Egyptians!

thepoetryman said...

I tried to find an email address for you, but am unable to do so... I apologize for leaving this in your comments on your fine post of the Iranian Experience, but here goes- Would you like to post on a regular basis on The Peace Tree? I can give you guest administrative priviledges and you can post at your convenience...
Let me know. You can reach me via-

Thank you and peace,
Mark (thepoetryman)

thepoetryman said...

By the way I was directed to you by my friend Betmo.

Aardvark EF-111B said...

Belly Dancers!!!!

Nice one Naj, i had a good laugh!!!

unfortunately the egyptian femine morphology is a disgrace nowadays,

even those are imported recently.

Amre El-Abyad said...

Aardvark is always rejected by egyptian girls because of his looks, smell and character.

that's why he is so angry on egypt.

now he thinks that by licking for you.he will ultimately have his way............


Naj said...


I would normally delete such outbursts of pathology from my blog, but I let Amre-albino's message to you survive, to shed a light on his sorry character!

The fact that after his campaign of insults he is back in my blog shows how unstable he is!

Please don't bother responding to him.

If he had a life or real culture, he would be dedicating it to Egypt, instead of lurking around the web bad mouthing Persians.