IAAB 2007 Performance: Roya Bahrami, Santur Artist

Roya Bahrami is performing santur now… some of her opening remarks: I was 16 when I came here, and the first time I heard classical Persian music I was here already. I felt a pang in my heart… this music is really very deeply in me. Then I started to study, and started realizing my Iranianness in this music, very emotionally. After the Iraq war ended, I frequently visit Iran. It really does make a difference to make a trip. This whole concept of multicultural identity became evident to me about 10 years ago… When I was driving once, I was stuck in the car with a flamenco CD, so that pushed me to Spain. I didn’t speak a word of Spanish, so I started intensively studying the language and found a flamenco school and started studying. I wondered why I was so attracted to this music. I’m interested in ethnomusicology and I found out that one of the roots of flamenco music is in Persian music in ancient times. And then, a few years ago I met Carmela Greco, who is a famous teacher and dancer in Madrid, who became my friend. I played santur for her and she asked me to be in her show, so I had to “kaleh-malagh” (do some cartwheels)… santur is difficult to tune and relative to the singer. But it was interesting that Carmela felt this deep connection with santur music.

Flamenco music started with gypsies in the East (India, Iran) who traveled and ended up in Spain. Bahrami’s album is called “Roya” – there’s no video allowed at this event so you can visit her website: royabahrami.com, for more.