Growing up in my birthplace of Esfahān, one of Iran’s historic and cultural centres, traditional music was being played and learned all around me. Though I had taken to western classical violin, I didn’t really discover Persian traditional music until after I had moved to Canada from Iran. Those days, the common notion was that students of classical music would ruin their ears by listening to traditional music.
While studying music at York University, I encountered a wealth of World Music, as well as new and experimental music. I studied improvisation and South Indian drumming, and also took several courses in Middle Eastern music. Through these courses, I got hold of a kamancheh, the Persian spiked fiddle. I fell in love with the instrument and I started to experiment. Soon I was playing in local Persian ensembles and collaborating with several musicians from different traditions. For the past few years, I have been teaching kamancheh as well as the violin. Many of my students are children whose parents want them to learn about their cultural heritage, or they are young people who have rediscovered their roots as I did a few years ago. It is both a joy and a challenge to share what I have learned and discovered about Persian music in a way that the students can relate to – especially the children.