Persian vocalist and musician Sepideh Raissadat will be performing with Rohab Ensemble, a group of classical Persian musicians, on Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Rich Auditorium at the Woodruff Arts Center.
Raissadat began singing when she was only 9, studying with renowned Persian singer Parissa. She began learning her instrument, the setar, a four stringed lute-like instrument at age 13. She says it is unusual for Persian singers to accompany themselves on an instrument.
Raissadat performed only once in her native Iran before leaving for Italy where she studied art and did research into the pre-Islamic music of Iran. Even though no melodies have come down to the present, she says much can be learned through miniature paintings. bas reliefs and ancient poetry. She learned about what instruments were played, what melodies may have sounded like, and when music was a part of the culture. She continued to perform as a singer in Italy, was invited to perform at the Vatican and went on to record eight albums.
Currently based in Bonn, Germany and a Ph.D. Candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto, Raissadat continues to perform classical and new Persian music. She says her fans are scattered across the globe in Persian communities, but that her YouTube videos are popular in Iran and most of her Facebook followers are also there. Iranians living abroad often learn about her music from friends and relatives still in Iran.
Raissadat is performing in Atlanta with the celebrated Rohab Ensemble, which includes some of the finest classical Persian musicians. Barbat player, Hossein Behroozinia, was a child prodigy who trained at Tehran’s Conservatory of Music. He has worked with some of the most respected ensembles of Persian classical musicians and has been a champion of his instrument the barbat, one of the oldest musical instruments in the world. Kamancheh player Saeed Farajpoori is also a part of the ensemble. Farajpoori is a composer and a teacher at the school of music at Tehran University.
Behnam Samani, is percussionist for the ensemble. He is considered a virtuoso and is known for rendering complex rhythms. Tar player (the tar is a stringed instrument like the guitar) Hamid Behrouzinia, also began his training as a child with his famous uncle, Hossein Behrouzinia, and has also studied at Tehran’s Conservatory of Music.
For more information and tickets, visit woodruffcenter.org.
Franklin Abbott’s newest project is a double CD of music and poetry, Don’t Go Back To Sleep.