Celebrate the Music of the World: Meet the Kamāncheh

Posted on February 22, 2017 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Across the globe and throughout history, music has been a staple of culture.

The great array of styles and genres that have evolved over time have been made possible by, and necessitated, instruments as diverse as the cultures that created them.

We are all familiar with the more “standard” instruments like the piano, the flute, and the violin, but there is a rich world of instruments with interesting histories and craftsmanship out there!

Today, we spotlight one of these beautiful symbols of culture, the Kamāncheh.

Image: Kamāncheh artist Kayhan Kalhor playing at a music festival
Source: Mohammad Delkesh // Wikimedia

The Kamāncheh is a traditional stringed Persian instrument. Its beautiful sound resonates with history, and when played by a master, it takes on an almost spiritual beauty. 

To give us a proper introduction to the Kamāncheh and one if its most skilled musicians, we turn to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. They have a remarkable YouTube channel that explores some of the unique instruments in their collection, and features interviews with musicians from around the world.

Here is world renowned Kamāncheh artist Kayhan Kalhor and the instrument he has devoted his musical life to.

Via: MIMphx 1

That was such a beautiful sentiment from his wife:

“We create music because we are out of words.”

I want to leave you today with a beautiful performance by Kayhan Kalhor at the Morgenland Festival.

This duet with Toumani Diabaté on the kora is a spellbinding fusion of musical traditions.

It is truly a music that captures words that we cannot describe. So please, take a moment to enjoy.

When we talk about a culture as being “other” we allow for the complexities of its beauty to be erased.

Our experiences on this planet are made richer by our diversity. Whether in music, the arts, religion, or customs, the tapestry of our history is made more beautiful by difference.

No one culture or country has the corner of the market on good or bad, right or wrong. When we break people and their complexities into binary terms we take away humanity. To be human is to be complex, to be made up of competing forces.

Art and music are some of the beautiful bridges we can use to explore cultures different from our own. And hopefully, as we explore we will rediscover and reaffirm our shared humanity.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

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