Old Sommelier (Pir meyforoosh) by Naser Farhangfar, arranged by Diba Ensemble

About the Artists


Jamal Kurdistani (tenor) was born in 1961 in Sanandaj, an Iranian of Kurdish descent. He has studied radif (Persian vocal music) with Ostad Ahmad Helli, Ostad Sediq Taarif and Ostad Mohsen Keramati. Jamal has performed with Dastan, Kereshmeh and Hamnavazan Ensembles, as well as in the Vancouver area with Saeed Farajpoori and Hossein Behroozinia. He has also appeared at the Safar Festival, and at the Indian Summer Festival with Coleman Barks; this was the first major Canadian exhibition by contemporary artists from the Middle Eastern region. Also an educator, Jamal has taught singing and voice pedagogy in Iran and Canada for more than 20 years.

Diba Ensemble is a Vancouver-based ensemble that performs both traditional Persian music and original compositions. Featured in this video: Peyman Rouhandeh (setar), Mohammad Mehraban (ney) and Bijan Rahmani (tombak).

About the Instruments

Setar: a member of the lute family, which originated in Persia before the spread of Islam. It originally had three strings; two and a half centuries ago a fourth was added. It is played with index finger of the right hand, and has 25-27 moveable frets, which are usually made of animal intestines or silk.

Ney: an end-blown flute that figures prominently in Middle Eastern music. The ney has been played continuously for 4,500–5,000 years, making it one of the oldest musical instruments still in use. The Persian ney consists of a hollow cylinder (a piece of hollow cane or giant reed) with five or six finger holes and one thumb hole. Sometimes a brass, horn, or plastic mouthpiece is placed at the top to protect the wood from damage, and to provide a sharper and more durable edge to blow at. A highly skilled ney player can reach more than three octaves, though it is also common to have several “helper” neys to cover different pitch ranges or to facilitate playing technically difficult passages in other dastgahs or maqams.

Tombak: a goblet drum, considered the principal percussion instrument of Persian music. The tombak is normally positioned diagonally across the torso while the player uses one or more fingers and/or the palm(s) of the hand(s) on the drumhead, often (for a ringing timbre) near the drumhead’s edge. Sometimes tombak players wear metal finger rings for an extra-percussive “click” on the drum’s shell. 

Video Production Credits

Videography – Alistair Eagle, assisted by Don Xaliman & Camillia Frey

Audio Engineer & Mix – Sheldon Zaharko

Filmed and recorded on December 2-3, 2020 at Deep Cove Shaw Theatre in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

For the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra:

Producer – Mark Armanini

Senior Project Manager – Farshid Samandari

View the full programme for The Longest Night: Music for Solstice (Solace).

More Videos

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View the full programme for The Longest Night: Music for Solstice (Solace)