Album Appreciation: Songs of Horaman by Mohammad Mostafa Heydarian

Music can transport you to many different places, be that real or imaginary… within yourself or outside… out into the cosmos or around your own listening room… it can conjure up many images and feelings… For me good music needs to do something to you… it’s not a passive thing… it can excite me… challenge me… sympathise with me… and transport me… that’s why I try not to limit myself in terms of what I listen to, something which the four record labels (see below for details) which have brought out this incredible record share with this release. This is because, on the surface, it is perhaps not the sort of music I would think about listening to but, as I really got into it, I is something that is making , and continuing to make, and lasting impression on me…

Firstly, though, a bit of biographical introduction from the press release:

Mohammad Mostafa Heydarian is a young Kurdish tanbur player from Kermanshah, a city in the mountainous western Iranian region of Horaman. The son of a local instrument builder, he 
grew up surrounded by the local traditional music styles, studying with a number of well-known master musicians before recently entering university to study Persian classical music. 
Heydarian currently resides in Tehran and has deep affection for the land of his upbringing

He is, in short, a musician who I would not have not naturally come across had it not been for this release, underlining the importance of good independent record labels in curating their output… and in this case taking the sort of risks that many would not make… and for that I am very grateful.

What I do know is that these labels share the same sort of ideas of music being a non-passive medium… and so it is that while this music may initially signpost the mind into the topography and atmosphere of Kurdish and Iranian lands and cultures… and that in itself is an amazing thing… as you listen to is more you find yourself transported on your own personal journey as the lattice-like intricacies of Heydarian’s playing enter your very being.

Spanning over fifty minutes, and four sides of vinyl, you would be forgiven for thinking that the music, which comprises mainly just the tambur – with accompaniment from Behzad Varasteh on the daf (on the three side-long tracks), might come to feel jarring and uninteresting… but quite the opposite is the case because as these largely improvised pieces progress you are really drawn into their drama and imagery… indeed I found that from the very first few bars that the cultural and musical melange of the musicians’ experiences with those of mine somehow mesh wonderfully inside my head to create a beautifully unique and affecting experience which is almost ineffable.

Having now listened to this album quite a few times through I can understand why those involved wanted to put it out… because it is a simple yet also complex record which is beautifully played with huge emotion… aspects that transpose themselves onto the listener… in turn transporting them to realms that are both challenging and delightful… it is just very very special!







Thanks very much for reading my blog, I really appreciate this. I write it as a labour of love to help me enjoy music, and to give something back to the many talented people who put out these incredible sounds.

To make it as enjoyable as possible for others I do pay extra so there are, for instance, no ads on these pages; but it would be great if the blog could pay for itself.

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