Friday, 20 July 2018

Habil Aliyev (1927-2015) - Playing of Habil Aliyev - Zabul Tesnifi, Çargah Tesnifi, Segah Tesnifi, Dogah Tesnifi - LP released in Soviet Azerbaijan in 1976

Here a wonderful LP by the great master, accompanied on Balaban, a double-reed wind instrument similar to the Armenian Duduk, which has here the function to provide a drone, played by Niami Ammachferdiyef, and on Naqara, a kettle drum, played by Ali Amiraslanov. The Duduk is sometimes used to provide a drone in Azerbaijani Mugham music.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Habil Aliyev (1927-2015) - Kemencheh from Azerbaijan - Folk Tunes - Cassette released in Iran probably in the late 1980s or the 1990s

Here another cassette by Habil Aliyev. This one has folk tunes and at the end some imitations of animals. He is accompanied here by the Iranian musician Arjang Kamkar on Tombak. Perhaps someone can provide a translation of the liner notes.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Habil Aliyev (1927-2015) - Kemencheh from Azerbaijan - Bayat-e Shiraz, Dogah & Segah - Cassette released in Iran probably in the late 1980s or the 1990s

Here a beautiful cassette by the great Habil Aliyev, perhaps the greatest Kemenche master of the 20th century. I still remember vividly the moment, in the 1970s, when I first really became aware of the magic of his music: I had the old Bärenreiter Unesco LP Azerbaijan on my record player and had fallen asleep for a moment and woke up to the sound of his Kemenche. In the first moment I didn't know where I was and was just completely amazed about the sounds of this exquisite music which I perceived as the two voices of lovers in an extremely intimate conversation which went directly deep into my heart.
The cassette contains on side 1: Bayat-e Shiraz and on side 2: Dogah & Segah.
In 2015 we had posted an LP by him. Next we will post another cassette released in Iran and then another LP from 1976.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Ostad Bahari (Ali Asghar Bahari) - Kamancheh - Cassette released in the US in 1987

Here we present a cassette by the great Kemencheh (Kamancheh) master Ostad Ali Asghar Bahari (1905-1995). Though he cooperated with many of the so-called radio artists, also called Motrebi (entertainers), his playing always remained very authentic and very much his own. Later in his life he joined the Center for the Preservation and Propagation of Iranian Traditional Music and taught many students. Since the 1940s the violin had replaced the Kemencheh in classical Iranian music. It was Ali Asghar Bahari who was practically the only arist who held onto the Kemencheh and revived the instrument in the end. Nowadays violin has completely disappeared in classical Iranian music and the Kemencheh is widely played again, due to our artists influence.
He is very beloved in Iran and there are many CDs by him available there. This cassette probably was first published in Iran.
Here he plays on side 1: Dastgah-e Shur and on side 2: Avaz-e Dashti and Avaz-e Afshari, both derived from Dastgah-e Shur.
Last month we posted an LP on which he performed.

On the artist see:

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Yusef Forutan (1891-1979) - Setar - Recordings which appeared by accident on a faulty pressing of an Ocora LP

Yusef Forutan was one of the handful of outstanding, incomparable masters of authentic Iranian music in mid 20th century. Amongst instrumentalists there were only two or three others of the same quality: Sa'id Hormozy and Ali Akbar Khan Shahnazi and perhaps Abolhassan Saba. At the end of his live he joined the The Center for Preservation and Propagation of Iranian Music and formed many young musicians like Dariush Tala'i, Jalal Zolfonun, Hossein Alizadeh, Dâvud Ganjeyi, Parviz Meshkatian and many more. He recorded there also a good part of his repertoire.
My friend Werner Durand had the bad, he first thought, but in the end very good luck, that, when he bought the re-edition of the Ocora box of two LPs "Iran 5 & 6 - Musiques d'Extase et de Guérison du Baloutchistan", orginally published in 1981, he got a faulty pressing of the first LP: instead of music from Balouchistan it had all pieces played on Setar. He soon realised that it was exceptional music. A friend of his, the percussionist Saam Schlamminger, who knows Iranian music well, told him that these were recordings by Yusef Forutan. At that time no recordings by the great artist had yet been published. We only can guess how these recordings ended up on the LP. Perhaps Jean During, the editor of the LP box, had handed in the wrong tape. He probably got these recordings during his long stay in Tehran at the Center for Preservation and Propagation of Iranian Music from the beginning of the 1970s, where he studied Tar and the Radif for many years. He might have learned directly from Yusef Forutan. It could also be that the label mixed up the recordings. Perhaps Jean During had the intention to publish on Ocora in his series "Iran - Anthologie de la musique traditionnelle" also some older recordings by some of the great masters and had already handed in these recordings. Perhaps even Jean During recorded these himself. Anyway, this way these very precious recordings made it to the few music lovers who bought this faulty pressing.
Starting probaly in the late 1990s a number of CDs by Yusef Forutan were released in Iran: two single CDs and two boxes of 3 CDs each. These were partly recorded at the Center for Preservation and Propagation of Iranian Music, partly in private concerts in the house of Ostad Mohammad-Mehdi Kamalian. On the two sides of the Ocora LP are three longer pieces and six short metrical pieces which are called Zarbis. If these recordings are identical with some of those on the CDs, I couldn't figure out yet. As soon as I know more, I will add the information here. 
Many thanks to Werner Durand for sharing these recordings so generously.

By the way: I don't have the Ocora box of two LPs "Iran 5 & 6 - Musiques d'Extase et de Guérison du Baloutchistan" anymore. I replaced it later in my collection by the re-edition on 2 CDs which has a huge amount of additional material. So I will not post it. Sorry.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Dariush Tala'i & Djamchid Chemirani - Le Son direct du Concert IRAN du 11 mai 1982 sur France Musique - Set of two cassettes first published in France in 1983. Re-edition from 1988

Just received two days ago from my very dear friend Werner Durand a rip of this rare set of two cassettes. I had completely forgotten, that it existed. I had it in my hands in a private house in Paris in the 1980s, but had no chance to copy it then. Many many thanks to Werner Durand for his very generous sharing.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Daryoush Tala'i - Le Tar - Tradition classique de l'Iran - LP released in France in 1980

After the wonderful LP by Dariush Tala'i on Ocora now the one on Harmonia Mundi released one year later. Here his name is transcibed as Daryoush Tala'i. With accompanyment by the great Zarb (Tonbak or Tombak) master Djamchid Chemirani. Again an absolutely fantastic recording of authentic Iranian classical music by a great artist. Wonderful.

Unfortunately there was something wrong with the beginning of side 1. We now corrected this. Sorry for the inconveniance.


Friday, 29 June 2018

Madjid Kiani - Santour - Radif - LP released in 1977 in France

Now we continue with our Iran series. There will be two more posts after this one. Then there will be three posts by the outstanding Kemencheh master Habil Aliyev from Azerbaijan. Then a Ney cassette from Turkey, a double LP of traditional music from Tajikistan and finally an LP with music from Afghanistan. After this we will return to Indian classical music, insha'Allah. So now back to Iran:

Around the same time the two outstanding LPs by Dariush Tala'i and Majid Kiani were released on Ocora, Harmonia Mundi also released LPs by these artists. First we post the one by Majid Kiani released in 1977. These four LPs are perhaps the most beautiful ones of authentic Iranian music ever published. They were for a long time my favourite LPs and are still. Just now while preparing these posts I have listened to each of them again at least 10 times and will certainly many more times.

Regarding the term Radif, on which all classical Iranian music is based, we have included into the download files a pdf file taken from the booklet, written by the Radif master Dariush Tala'i, to the 5 CDs by him: Radif - Volume I to V, released by Al Sur in 1994 in France (ALCD 116 to 120). 
The Radif is a very refined and rich system of modes and melodies, very different from the Raga system and also the Near Eastern Maqam system. The Radif is normally never played in its entirety, except for educational reasons. The musician either chooses parts from a Dastgah of the Radif and performs them, eventually adding some improvisations and developments. Or the main body of the performance is improvisation and development based on a limited amount of selections from a Dastgah from the Radif. In order that these really turn out well with depth and meaning the musician needs a deep understanding of the Radif, which most of the contemporary and even a lot of the older musicians don't have. In effect the Radif is something, one has to dive deep into and the really good and authentic musicians never stop to do that.
Today the Radif is most times understood just as a body of modes and melodies, from which one can borrow pieces freely and then create ones own thing out of it. They don't realise that there are many meanings and secrets hidden in it and many levels of understanding, which only unfold slowly if one dives deep into it and searches to discover them. And this search never has an end. This is also true for the listener. Musicians like Majid Kiani and Dariush Tala'i are completely permeated by the Radif.
All this is described in a very detailed way by Jean During in his excellent book Musiques d'Iran - La tradition en question.
See also:

Comments function to our posts didn't work for over a month

Dear music lovers, it slowly dawned on me only two days ago that the comments function doesn't work anymore since over a month. First I thought that I don't receive any comments because the music I posted recently definitely interests most visitors of this blog much less than Indian music.
My dear blogger friend Richard from Flat, Black and Classical: Indian Classical Music on Vinyl and Cassette signaled a similar problem recently. This finally made me think that with the comment function on my blog something must be wrong. I contacted Richard and his response was very helpful, as always. Now everything works again and by now I moderated almost all of the comments. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

G. S. Sachdev (Gurbachan Singh Sachdev) (1935-2018) passed away - In his memory his second LP released in India in 1976

This morning I received the sad news that G.S. Sachdev has passed away from my dear blogger friend Richard at: Flat, Black and Classical: Indian Classical Music on Vinyl and Cassette. May he rest in peace.

Gurbachan Singh Sachdev was a well-known Indian performer of the Bansuri (Bamboo Flute). He was initially a protege of Vijay Raghav Rao, with whom he studied for twelve years intensively. He then continued his studies with Ravi Shankar and later with Ali Akbar Khan. He holds a degree in music from Gandharav Mandal University in Bombay. A big part of his life he spend in the US teaching, giving concerts and recording. I saw him twice in Amsterdam, I guess in the late 1990s or early 2000s. He seemed to be a very gentle and humble man. I only had a short talk with him. He had a very devote public in Holland. I remember that I was surprised that he was so well-known in Holland. Probably from previous concert tours.


Saturday, 23 June 2018

Mohammad Reza Shajarian - Mahur - Concert in 1989 - Cassette produced to be sold at the 1989 European tour.

Here a concert by the very well-known Mohammad Reza Shajarian (born 1940), a very accomplished singer who touched publics world wide with his very refined, deep, introverted art. The 1989 tour was especially noteworthy as the repertoire and the musicians were the most traditional imaginable. He was accompanied just by a trio of very traditional artists. 
Especially Dariush Pirniakan, the Setar player, is a great master of both the Tar and Setar. He studied with the great Radif masters of mid last century, especially Ali Akbar Shahnazi, more or less the same masters Dariush Tala'i had, but he seems to stick even closer to what he had inherited. Mahoor released a while ago two solo CDs by him, both on Tar, both outstandingly beautiful. He worked in the late 1980s and early 1990s very closely with Shajarian and made about seven CDs with him: the three volumes from this tour of 1989, first published as cassettes, in Mahur, in Abu 'Ata and in Bayat-e Zand & Afshari, from the tour a year later one in Shur with the same group except that as Tombak player for the first time Shajarians son Homayoun Shajarian appeared. And then three CDs with Ensemble Ava under his direction: "Aram-e Jan" - Concert in Afshari, "Rosvaye Del" - Concert in Segah and "Aseman 'Eshgh" also in Segah.
The other two musicians are Jamshid Andalibi, a fine Ney player, and Morteza Ayan, who plays very elegantly the Tombak. 
I was at a couple of these concerts and bought this cassette at their concert in Cologne. In total I saw over the years at least fifteen concerts by Shajarian, most times with my wife who loved his music very much. At the last ones I was a little sceptical if the concert would still touch me and went there mainly because my wife wanted to go, but it always did touch me surprisingly strongly. He is a strongly introverted artist and hardly moves, everything coming from the chest. The maximum movement I noticed was that in very intense moments his hand would rise about a centimeter or two from his knee and then fall back on it again.

On the artist see:
He published over 30 CDs and DVDs. There exist also some books written on him and his art. In 2016 we posted another cassette by him.

One good thing about the 1979 revolution in Iran related to music: as popular, westernised and night club (casino) music was forbidden, including the entertainment version of classical Iranian music played on the radio, a young generation educated by the great Radif masters at the Center for Preservation and Propagation of Iranian Music received an enormous chance to come forward. Starting in the early 1980s singers like Shajarian and many others and instrumentalists like Dariush Tala'i had many cassette and later CD releases and had many chances to give concerts. In this era also the publication of the existing recordings of the great masters, who were completely ignored before, started in exemplary editions. The only downsize: female singers were not allowed to perform in public, except for a purely female public. 

The concert here consists of a long Dasgah Mahur with these sections:

Side 1:
Saz va Avaz (vocal improvisation accompanied by an instrument) - Ghazal by Hafez
Tasnif - Ghazal by Hafez
Saz va Avaz (vocal improvisation accompanied by an instrument) - Ghazal by Hafez

Side 2:
Tasnif - Ghazal by Hafez
Saz va Avaz (vocal improvisation accompanied by an instrument) - Ghazal by Hafez

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Abdollah Davami (1891-1980) & Mohammad Reza Lotfi - Radif Avazi - The Vocal Repertoire

Here we present some recordings by the greatest master of Vocal Radif (Radif Avazi) of the past century. He recorded his complete Radif in the 1970s. It was published first in 1995 as a set of three cassettes and later as a set of three CDs, with the addition of his Tasnif recordings on 78 rpm records from the early part of last century. Only three of the Dastgahs have an accompaniment on Tar, played by Mohammad Reza Lotfi, one of his many students. The other Dastgahs were performed by Davami without any accompaniment. I had asked my friend KF many many years ago to put the three Dastgahs with Lotfi on a CD for me. Here the result, together with the covers created by KF, based on the cover of the original cassette box. Many thanks to him.

Ostad Abdollah Davami had many students, the most prominent being Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Mahmud Karimi, himself the great master of vocal Radif of the following generation. Karimi recorded his own version of the Radif, released by Mahoor as a set of five CDs, which he taught to many students, amongst them Parisa. We had posted an LP by Karimi in 2016. 

"The founder of Persian vocal radif repertoire and a very great master of tasnif and tonbak, Ostad Abdollah Davami, was born in Ta village of Tafresh city, Iran, in 1891. As a teenager he discovered that he had a good, audible and suitable voice, so he decided to learn the elementary principles of Persian vocal music. One day he had gone to a gathering in the house of Majd-al-Mamalek that he met Ali Khan Nayeb-al-Saltaneh. After that he became the student of Ali Khan Nayeb-al-Saltaneh for learning radif and Haji Khan, Agha Jan, Sama' Hozur (santoor player) for learning tasnif, and the art of tonbak playing. Because of his talent in learning music, he became friend of great masters of his time such as Mirza Hossein Gholi (tar player), Hossein Khan (kamancheh player), Darvish Khan (tar and setar player), Malek-al-Zakerin (vocalist) and Mirza Abdallah (setar player). He has trained many students. He passed away in 1980."