Masters of Persian Music @ Berkeley

I just attended the Masters of Persian Music performing at University of California, Berkeley.

I have no more doubt about their performing skills, that is awesome. As of the concert during the second half I was bored by Grammy award nominees (for the best traditional world music)! That might be due to their monophonic and repetitive use of the very same melody patterns in Shur scale back and forth (dastgāh-e-Shur is a scale close to medieval Phrygian mode). Once they eventually modulated to minor and I noticed that it suddenly attracted every one’s attention around me. Just to know, my seat was in between of two groups of Americans and Iranians.

Their performance was consistent, harmonic, homogeneous, and professional, but there were really no innovation and creativity going on; no more ways of brain tickling. That was just in a way it used to be in one, two, or even three decades ago.

When it comes to traditional Persian music, my taste seems to be developing. Facing recent innovations in poetry, melody and rhythm as well as new approaches of correlating form and content in Persian music has moved it towards a more complicated and challenging scope. I am not talking about updating instruments, changing the orchestration, hiring polyphony or choice of the scales. These innovations can be accomplished within the exact same set of ensembles.

p.s. Their albums Faryad and Without You is available at Amazon.

Berkeley, CA, October 2008
Nim at Berkeley last year

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