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***Mohammad Mostafa Heydarian is a young Kurdish tanbur player from Kermanshah, a city in the mountainous western Iranian region of Horaman. The son of a local instrument builder, he grew up surrounded by the local traditional music styles, studying with a number of well-known master musicians before recently entering university to study Persian classical music. Heydarian currently resides in Tehran and has deep affection for the land of his upbringing. Whenever he is feeling down, he thinks about Horaman and the role his home has played in making him who he is today. For Heydarian, it seemed only appropriate to title his album accordingly.
Recorded in the city of Karaj with the percussive assistance of family friend and long-time collaborator Behzad Varesteh, Heydarian's debut includes a mixture of traditional tasnifs and maqams—thrilling and gorgeous tanbur pieces centered in the two musicians' talent for extended improvisation and feeling. Songs of Horaman was initially released on cassette by the European label Radio Khiyaban in November of 2021. It was immediately met with praise and positive energy, and it became clear that Heydarian’s music deserved to reach more ears. Plans to broadly distribute the album on the vinyl format came together quickly with Centripetal Force (North America), Cardinal Fuzz (UK), and Ramble Records (Australia) joining the project. In an era of production delays, supply chain shortages, increased shipping fees, heavy taxation, and other complications, these four labels hope this effort serves as a model for how DIY culture can continue to grow and thrive in cooperative ways. And they are all certainly grateful to be part of what Heydarian has to offer.
A special note of recognition and appreciation also goes out to musician and producer Valentin Portron, a friend of Heydarian who helped facilitate and coordinate this release- and who also mixed the results you hear on the album.