That Darvish Khan, he played a mean tar.
Not gui-tar. Just 'tar'. Its an unusual-sounding instrument (unusual for someone brought up on Western guitar music) but I find it oddly fitting for the night. As I write this I am sequestered in my apartment, full belly and warm feet, and serenaded by the off-the-wall tunes on Radio Darvish.
Radio Darvish, in case you don't know, is a listener-supported webcast featuring traditional Persian music. I discovered it recently through the magic of iTunes radio, finally got around to investigating that particular segment of of my iPod list. The station is named after one Darvish Khan, a early 20th-century Iranian rockstar analog who was a master of the 'tar'. Apparently he was a master of the style, and even died in somewhat of a rockstar fashion. His carriage got T-boned by a new-fangled "automobile" back in 1926, supposedly the first Iranian ever to die in a car accident. I guess Darvish is like, the Cliff Burton of Persian trad music.
The winter has its hooks in hard. It is times like this that I look everywhere possible for something, anything to bridge the gaps between chores and activities that occupy my mind. Early in the day, I had ventured out to take some pictures. It was cold, as cold as the proverbial brass simian 'nards, but I was determined to get OUT. I ventured over to a favored riverine state park, camera in hand and toque on head. I was just getting into a good groove when it started to snow, enough so that I reckoned I couldn't stay out very long. Especially since my fingertips were in agony from the chill. So reluctantly I gave up and went home, whereupon it started snowing harder.
No more outdoorsy stuff for me. I'll stay in and watch it fall.
A side effect of shutting in is boredom. Monumental boredom. Television doesn't hold my interest for very long, and lately I haven't been in a reading mood. So it is mostly music that gets my attention. That and cooking.
This night, it was off to Persia, and my monthly allotment of 'tar' solos. It may seem strange, I know, but it did the trick. The walls moved a little further away, breathing became a little easier, and my knowledge of traditional Persian musical instruments increased exponentially. Score!
So tell me, what is your favorite traditional music utensil, Persian or otherwise?