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June 2002
Going it alone for Persian singer Hamid
Iranian scene

Isfahan square in Hamid's homeland

Persian singer's new life in Leicester means swopping a full orchestra and conductor for solo performances.

Hamid came to Leicester two years ago after leaving his home in Isfahan, Iran's second largest city. He specialises in traditional singing rooted in thousands of years of Persian heritage. As with all musicians in Iran, Hamid learned his craft through a series of dedicated teachers, starting first with his own father.

Making a new life for himself in Leicester meant that Hamid had to sacrifice his career as a successful performer in his homeland of Iran. He would appear with an ensemble of musicians playing traditional Persian instruments.

nae player

A nae - a traditional flute-like Persian instrument

How I came to this music
"My Dad was a professional singer of traditional Persian songs. He died 11 years ago. He started to teach me when I was about nine years old. As I got older I was a student of other traditional Persian singers like Shazarian and Eftekari. They were very good teachers. Everyone has a teacher. I learned to sing quarter notes which are very important for traditional Persian songs, traditional Persian singing, traditional Person music. They are called cha cha. Not everyone can sing quarter notes. You need to have a good, strong throat. Traditional Persian instruments include a nae which is like a flute, a santor which is like a hammered dulcimer, tombak which is small drums and a komanche which is like a spiked fiddle. Traditional Persian music always has a conductor who writes everything down - harmony, melody, notes."

tar player

Persian tar player

Where I play
"In Persian music, the conductor does everything - he tells us which notes to play and sing. He writes and arranges everything. Unfortunately I haven't an orchestra in Leicester. It's just me singing. How can I sing and play? I can't perform in the traditional way. I also don't have a conductor. I sing with a folk singer, Sheila Mosley in Leicester. But I hope one day somebody will come and perform with me."

komanche player

Komanche player in Iran

A favourite song
"Iranians celebrate their New Year for 13 days ending at Easter. Everything is closed for the holiday. Everything is spring cleaned. The celebrations dates from 2,600 years, before the advent of Islam. There is scripted traditional Persian music dating from this time. I have chosen a special song for this time of year, the start of spring. Everything is new, there is new life, flowers are everywhere."

Contact Sheila on 0775 1888391 or email Hamid.

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