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Seda: Voices of Iran

Iranian Classical Music Ensembles

The Aref Ensemble  was one of the leading Persian classical music ensembles of the 20th century. It was founded by maestro Parviz Meshkatian, Hossein Alizadeh, and Mohammad Reza Lotfi in 1977. The group was named after Aref Ghazvini, the 18th century Iranian poet and composer. Aref was dedicated to the promotion and advancement of Persian classical music. To some critics the Aref Ensemble, together with the Sheyda Ensemble (also founded by Meshkatian), revolutionised Persian music.



Chemirani Ensemble is a notable Persian classical music ensemble. Since their inception as rhythmic masters, the trio Chemirani have branched out (both individually and as a group) interculturally. They've recorded and performed with folk and classical music genii from around the world. Although the Indian tabla have been long-known for density/diversity of sound, Keyvan's Heartbeat of the Orient album features tracks demonstrating the comparability of the Persian tombac to the Indian tabla.



The Dastan Ensemble is an Iranian musical group performing traditional Persian music. The group was established by Hamid Motebassem in 1991. Dastan Ensemble has been presented in countless international cultural centers and important festivals world-wide.



The Kamkars, a Kurdish family of seven brothers and a sister, all from the city of Sanandaj, are one of the leading musical ensembles in Kurdistan and Iran today. Their repertoire ranges from the vast array of traditional Kurdish and Persian music with its poignant, entrancing melodies and uplifting high energy rhythms to the classical Kurdish and Persian classical music of Iran. The repertoire of Kurdish music is richly diverse and deeply-rooted in the ancient history and culture of its proud and passionate people. It speaks of epic tales and wars, romantic love, and recounts ancient myths and stories of national and religious heroes, some of which date back to thousands of years to the time of the ancient Medes (the ancestors of the Kurds)." The group has performed numerous concerts throughout the world, including their performance at the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring Shirin Ebadi.



The Lian Ensemble is a group of performers and composers. Their compositions fuse the Mystical Persian musical heritage with the contemporary sensibilities of postmodern Jazz. Combining a musical vision with dedication to experimentation, they create a synthesis of mystical world music composed of traditional and folk melodies and instruments.

The Lian is composed of musicians whose diverse musical styles lend to this blend of Mystical world music. Lian's music flows between a diverse range of styles and traditions, forging a sound that is all their own. After much collaboration, the musicians have acquired the requisite knowledge of Persian music, and each adds their own distinctive rhythmic sounds to compositions, creating an mix of melodies. In performance, Lian's ever-evolving repertoire of creative original music is expanded, rearranged, and examined with exploratory eyes at each and every concert.



The Mastān Ensemble is an Iranian musical group performing traditional Persian music. The group's performance follows a Persian tradition of music making known as Chāmeh Sarā'i  according to which one person is in charge of writing the poems, composing the musics, arranging the instruments as well as singing the songs. The instruments employed by this Ensemble include daf, dayereh, kamāncheh,lute, reed, robab, santour, tār and tonbak. The Mastān Ensemble derive their inspirations from such Sufi poets as Farid ad-Din Attar, Hafez and Rumi. The performances of this Ensemble are emotionally intense and the thoughts and meanings conveyed by their musics and songs are both philosophical and contemplative.


The Masters of Persian Music consists of four of Iran’s most celebrated musicians: legendary vocalist Mohammed Reza Shajarian (sometimes referred to as the “Persian Pavarotti”), tar virtuoso Hossein Alizadeh, Kayhan Kalhor (kamancheh fiddle) (featured composer and performer with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project) and Homayoun Shajarian on tombak (percussion).


The Persian classical musician Jalal Zolfonoon is a master of the four-stringed setar. A s a touring musician, recording artist, and teacher, he has been a leading figure in the revival of this traditional Iranian instrument. Classically trained in Tehran and a lifetime resident of Iran, he tours the world performing Iranian classical and folk music with the Zolfonoon Ensemble.



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