Forever Under Construction

Meet The Chemiranis

Posted in Iran, Music by homeyra on January 4, 2007

The Chemirani Trio



Djamchid Chemirani, born in 1942, has studied the tombak since the age of eight. He learnt to play with the great zarb master, Hossein Teherani, whose revolutionary work changed the zarb from an accompaniment to a solo instrument. Recognised himself as a master of the classical school, Djamchid Chemirani was also seen as a modernist, open to new ideas and styles. Since 1961 he has taught at the Centre d’Etudes de Musique Orientale in the Paris Sorbonne Institut de Musicologie.

Keyvan Chemirani, born in Paris in 1968, started learning the tombak at the age of 13. He studied for his masters in mathematics until 1989, when he launched an international career as soloist and accompanist. He also plays the udu, an earthenware jug used in the East and in Africa, as well as the bendir and the riqq, two percussion instruments from the Mediterranean area. He has participated in exchanges with the likes of Titi Robin, Erik Marchand, Françoise Atlan and Carlo Rizzo … outstanding dialogues between musical cultures from Iran, India and Mali, captured in a series called “The rhythm of speech”. ‘… Two decades on Chemirani, now a world-renowned zarb master himself, is the driving force behind a cross-continental collaboration between his own family and musicians from India and Mali …’ read more.

Bijan Chemirani, the cadet, was also born in France. He began his professional career while still in secondary school. He is also a multi-instrumentalist and leader in his own right. Bijan performs also with musicians such as Ross Daly, Stelios Petrakis and Sam Karpienian.
Music at Amazon
View some song clips

Unlike other top instrumentalists, there is very little about the Chemiranis on the net specially the illustrious father. You can find a little more about Keyvan here and here, and about Bijan here and here. See also WOMAD Sri Lanka 2005 and here.


Structure of Tombak


Tombak, also known as tonbak, donbak, dombak and zarb, is a goblet drum from Iran. It is the chief percussion instrument of Persian classical music. It is a one-headed drum that is carved of a single piece of wood, and is open on the bottom. Across the larger, upper part of the body is streched a sheepskin membrane, that is glued into place. Thus, the instrument cannot be tuned; the performer prepares it for a piece by warming the membrane over a heater. Persian Classical Music, Duke

Relevent links: Nay-Nava, encyclopaedia of Persian musical instruments
Tombak Network
a British-based site dedicated to the tombak



9 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. AA said, on January 4, 2007 at 3:20 pm


  2. homeyra said, on January 4, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    They are great, I know what you are thinking AA, lucky J has 2 Max 🙂

  3. AA said, on January 4, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Two with French accents!

  4. Bluebear2 said, on January 4, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    I will have to check it out tonight when I get home.

    I thought this would be of interest to you.
    (If you get the black box on the left scroll down and there is a button where you can close it.)

    Iran women chip away at male political supremacy

  5. homeyra said, on January 4, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Thank you for the link BB2.
    I remember when, right before his first term, the former President Khatami was interviewed by a womens magazine and was asked “who has the last word at home”. He answered: “Me. I say you are right!” 🙂

  6. peoplesgeography said, on January 5, 2007 at 11:19 am

    I noticed they are playing at Womad world music festival in Adelaide, Australia. Nice to see the Australians appreciate them up here! 🙂 Chemirani even demonstrates to the audience some of their amazing techniques and I really liked his excellent narration throughout – a great video!

  7. Loopy said, on January 5, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    that is awesome…thatnks so much. as usual you continue with awesome content. becoming addictive. i should check this guys out, since it looks like htey’re in the neighbourhood!!!

  8. homeyra said, on January 5, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    Thank you PPGG, and thanx youtube. It is amazing to have all that available on the net and be able to share it. Though the sound is not good, but one can feel what it is all about.
    Thank you Loopy 🙂
    I am glad that you find interesting things here. It seems that they live in South of France, I saw Marseille somewhere. But Khaladj is in Paris, I will post about him sometime soon.

  9. Agent 99 said, on January 7, 2007 at 4:27 am

    Probably very, very good drumming….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: