Sunday, 17 June 2018

Hengameh Akhavan & Mohammad Reza Lotfi - Radio programs broadcast in the 1970s in Tehran, Iran

Here we post a cassette we received in mid or late 1980s from an Iranian lady running a shop of Iranian antique handicrafts in Cologne, Germany. I reguarly visited this very kind and very beautiful lady when I was in Cologne and also bought from her some very beautiful old saddle-bags made by nomadic Kords in Northern Khorasan. We always had long discussions about Iranian music, sitting in her shop surrounded by all these beautiful handicrafts. At that time it was still extremely difficult to find good recordings of Iranian traditional music, except for the few LPs released in the west. She always had one or two cassettes of either classical or regional music for me. I only have very few of these still as later most of them were republished on CD in Iran and from the early 1990s onwards one could obtain them through some Iranian shops in Cologne and Düsseldorf or with the help of an Iranian friend directly from Iran.

This cassette by Hengameh Akhavan was the most outstanding cassette I received from this lady. The music was also later republished on CD, in a series, released in the US, devoted to republish music programs from Iranian radio from before the revolution. These CDs were extremely difficult to get. I never succeeded to obtain this one. The only one I ever obtained - in an Iranian shop in Kensigton, London in the 1990s - was one by the singer Ghavami. The music of the radio program by Hengameh Akhawan sticks completely out from the rest of the music broadcast by Iranian radio.
Hengameh Akhavan was one of the two outstanding classical female vocalists coming up in Iran in the 1970s. The other one was Parisa. In 2013 we posted one of her cassettes and in 2017 an LP from Japan with one beautiful piece by her. 
Hengameh Akhavan was very inspired by and recreated a lot the repertoire of Qamar-ol-Moluk Vaziri (1905-1959), the greatest female voice in Iran ever. See on her:

Hengameh Akhavan in the period of these recordings

Lotfi around the same time

She never became really famous like Parisa and only rarely made tours to the west. Her style is a very pure, very intense old style - she studied under the great Radif master Adib Khansari - and, as we said, she was very inspired by the great Qamar ol-Moluk. 
The recordings we post here are parts of two different programs originally boadcast in the second half of the 1970s. She was accompanied on Tar by the great Mohammad Reza Lotfi (1947-2014) and on Tombak by Bijan Kamkar. At another time we might post one or two cassettes by Lotfi and share some memories. Here he plays in the very traditional Radif style he inherited from his teachers Ali Akbar Shahnazi and Sa'id Hormozi. Next we will post another recording by another singer, the legendary Radif master Abdollah Davami, also accompanied by Lotfi and from the same period.
These recordings were so different from most other Iranian music, especially from Radio programs, and so intense that I was completely blown away by them. The music is deeply emotional, but has not the slightest trace of sentimentality. This is so typical of old music - also in India - and completely got lost in todays music, where the music slips easily into sentimentality.

My friend KF made many years ago a CD out of this cassette and created the covers. Many thanks to him. And many thanks to that very kind Iranian lady. Unfortunately I lost contact with her after she gave up her shop.

Hengameh Akhavan today


Rory said...

Thanks very much for all those wonderful iranian music, and for your stories!

BT said...

Thank-you so much

Bosmart said...

Thanks for the wonderful recordings. Decided to join the fun and publish some music by Lotfi myself. A first installment:

Psikofobi said...