Art And Culture

Another Side of Kamancheh Virtuoso With Dutch Band

Kalhor: Today there are more sources available for learning the art. But still, if talented practitioners really want to become masters they have to practice 14-15 hours a day
Another Side of Kamancheh Virtuoso With Dutch BandAnother Side of Kamancheh Virtuoso With Dutch Band

Composer and kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor, 54, is performing a joint concert in Tehran with the jazz music ensemble Rembrandt Trio from the Netherlands.

After Kalhor completed his extensive tour ‘Veiled Dwellers of Silent Garden’ across Iran, he started a joint improvisation project with Rembrandt Trio, a jazz band founded by Dutch composer and pianist Rembrandt Frerichs, 40, who in describing the event says: “You can’t really categorize it. It’s not jazz, it’s not classical, it’s just something we do with our instruments where the focal point is improvisation.”

The three-day concert is being held at the Interior Ministry auditorium. It opened September 5.

At the event, Kalhor improvises kamancheh, a spike fiddle on which he has a magical command. Frerichs, however, plays piano and shows his unique style influenced by American jazz tradition and Arabic music.

Other members of Rembrandt Trio, Tony Overwater and Vinsent Planjer will play contrabass and percussion respectively.

The concerts are organized under the auspices of Royal-Honar-Pars company that has funded concerts by celebrated Iranian artists such as pop singer Ehsan Khajeh Amiri, 32, and composer, singer and actor Reza Yazdani, 43.

On the occasion of this unique, poetic, collaborative event where East meets West, the Persian newspaper ‘Sharq’ talked to Kalhor who rarely does interviews. “Talking is easy, but putting one’s words into action is difficult,” he explained. “I try to work more and talk less.”

About the difference between domestic concerts and those performed overseas, Kalhor says his works are more appreciated at home. In particular, he enjoys performing at the iconic Vahdat Hall located on Shahryar Blvd in Tehran.

“I love and respect Vahdat Hall for many reasons. It has hosted legendary master musicians from in and outside Iran.” But as for the Ministry of Interior auditorium, their present venue, he said that it is a big hall and they had to opt for a place with a bigger seating arrangement.

His successful tour ‘Veiled Dwellers of Silent Garden’ proved that people are still interested in instrumental concerts. But he pointed out that the musicians who are out of pop culture would find numerous challenges for working in Iran. “In a country like US, many rich people fund orchestras and concerts where audience is often over 50. But in Iran, audiences are usually young … There is always less audience for serious art.”

Traditional art, Kalhor believes, cannot follow the fact-paced pattern of modern time. “There are now more available sources for learning the art, but still, if talented practitioners want to become masters, they have to practice 14-15 hours a day. Nothing has changed about this fact; only we have changed … maybe modern lifestyles do not let us have much time for playing a music instrument.”

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