Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rowan Storm and the Lian Ensemble on Friday, January 12

By Libby Motika - Palisadian Post - Pacific Palisades,CA,U.S.A.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A classical Persian music concert, featuring guest artist Rowan Storm and the Lian Ensemble, will be presented at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 12 at St. Matthew's Church, 1031 Bienveneda.

Storm, a resident of Athens and Los Angeles, grew up in Brentwood, attended St. Matthew's School and graduated from PaliHi, where she was known as Ronnie Hicks. She and the Iranian-American musicians will provide vocals and instrumental music founded on Sufism and the mystical poems of Persia.

The public is invited to the concert with tickets ($25) available at the door at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact (310) 573-7787, ext. 4 or 395-0718.

Storm's devotion to the classical music of Persia comes from her strong connection with the Eastern music tradition experienced in Iran most recently, but first in her hometown of Los Angeles 35 years ago.

Storm's early years were no different from many kids growing up in the Palisades. She attended local schools--St. Matthew's and Palisades High School, but her path became clearer through experience and circumstance.

'I was at a concert of classical Persian music in Hollywood around 1967-8, which was a spiritual epiphany. I thought, 'this is it, completely.''

Soon after, Storm met some others who were playing the music, more accurately called Radif, and began to play and deepen her knowledge of the ancient tradition.

Radif, and in many ways all Persian artwork, springs from and works toward the reunification of man with God. It is based on the Sufi belief that music reflects the first words of God, which elicited such ecstasy when Adam first heard them.
And that the musical system was meant to allow the recreation of the music of the heavenly orbs by mankind. In other words, it is spiritual music.

'Radif is the name of the repertoire of classical Persian music,' Storm says. 'It is a collection of nonrhythmic musical pieces that were compiled around 100 years ago from oral tradition. It is a memorized form and internalized. No notation, no sheet music. There is a lot of improvisation; the players may respond to the audience or to the time of day.'

The music is delivered typically by a small ensemble of players and a vocalist. The instruments often include a tonbak, or hand drum; santur, which is an ancestor of the hammer dulcimer, the daf, or frame drum and the tar, the most widely used plucked instrument in Iran today that resembles a fretted lute with six strings.

During her college years, Storm was introduced to Musical Missions of Peace founder Cameron Power, who was the first musician to open the door for her, helping her out of her head to participate with others in the pursuit of--and enthrallment with--Middle Eastern music.

In 1993, she closed her architecture/builder business in New York City and moved to Greece to study the music and 'understand the cultural connection between the East and the West.'
She learned to play and teach the drums of the goblet family, which includes the Turkish dumbek, or tonbak in Persian. She was introduced to the master of great Persian classical music, Mohammad Reza Lotfi, with whom she studied and performed with for 5 1/2 years.

Certainly the capstone of her understanding and appreciation of the music came about with her visit to Iran upon the invitation of the Iranian government for three months in the spring of 2006.

'Because I can communicate in Zabane Farsi (Persian language), I enjoyed the freedom to speak to the people and learn more about their beliefs, their poetry and culture,' she says. 'I went to Kurdistan, which is off-the-radar-area of Iran and stayed with a woman who is head of the dervish order for two weeks.

'The thing I want Americans to know about is the amazing hospitality in Iran, where the guest is primary even if the host has nothing. I also want all of us to know that poetry is such a deep part of Persian culture, even among the illiterate. Rumi is probably the most widely recognized of the six major Persian poets. The classical Persian music is based on that poetry.'

1 comment:

irving said...

Ah, I wish I could be there. Lotfi, the great classical world class tar musician, as well as at least two members of the Lian Ensemble, are Nimatullahi darvishes. One, Houman Pourmahdi, and I did readings of poetry in Chicago, me reading in English, and he playing the ney and daf, and singing the poetry. What fun days :)

Ya Haqq!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rowan Storm and the Lian Ensemble on Friday, January 12
By Libby Motika - Palisadian Post - Pacific Palisades,CA,U.S.A.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A classical Persian music concert, featuring guest artist Rowan Storm and the Lian Ensemble, will be presented at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 12 at St. Matthew's Church, 1031 Bienveneda.

Storm, a resident of Athens and Los Angeles, grew up in Brentwood, attended St. Matthew's School and graduated from PaliHi, where she was known as Ronnie Hicks. She and the Iranian-American musicians will provide vocals and instrumental music founded on Sufism and the mystical poems of Persia.

The public is invited to the concert with tickets ($25) available at the door at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact (310) 573-7787, ext. 4 or 395-0718.

Storm's devotion to the classical music of Persia comes from her strong connection with the Eastern music tradition experienced in Iran most recently, but first in her hometown of Los Angeles 35 years ago.

Storm's early years were no different from many kids growing up in the Palisades. She attended local schools--St. Matthew's and Palisades High School, but her path became clearer through experience and circumstance.

'I was at a concert of classical Persian music in Hollywood around 1967-8, which was a spiritual epiphany. I thought, 'this is it, completely.''

Soon after, Storm met some others who were playing the music, more accurately called Radif, and began to play and deepen her knowledge of the ancient tradition.

Radif, and in many ways all Persian artwork, springs from and works toward the reunification of man with God. It is based on the Sufi belief that music reflects the first words of God, which elicited such ecstasy when Adam first heard them.
And that the musical system was meant to allow the recreation of the music of the heavenly orbs by mankind. In other words, it is spiritual music.

'Radif is the name of the repertoire of classical Persian music,' Storm says. 'It is a collection of nonrhythmic musical pieces that were compiled around 100 years ago from oral tradition. It is a memorized form and internalized. No notation, no sheet music. There is a lot of improvisation; the players may respond to the audience or to the time of day.'

The music is delivered typically by a small ensemble of players and a vocalist. The instruments often include a tonbak, or hand drum; santur, which is an ancestor of the hammer dulcimer, the daf, or frame drum and the tar, the most widely used plucked instrument in Iran today that resembles a fretted lute with six strings.

During her college years, Storm was introduced to Musical Missions of Peace founder Cameron Power, who was the first musician to open the door for her, helping her out of her head to participate with others in the pursuit of--and enthrallment with--Middle Eastern music.

In 1993, she closed her architecture/builder business in New York City and moved to Greece to study the music and 'understand the cultural connection between the East and the West.'
She learned to play and teach the drums of the goblet family, which includes the Turkish dumbek, or tonbak in Persian. She was introduced to the master of great Persian classical music, Mohammad Reza Lotfi, with whom she studied and performed with for 5 1/2 years.

Certainly the capstone of her understanding and appreciation of the music came about with her visit to Iran upon the invitation of the Iranian government for three months in the spring of 2006.

'Because I can communicate in Zabane Farsi (Persian language), I enjoyed the freedom to speak to the people and learn more about their beliefs, their poetry and culture,' she says. 'I went to Kurdistan, which is off-the-radar-area of Iran and stayed with a woman who is head of the dervish order for two weeks.

'The thing I want Americans to know about is the amazing hospitality in Iran, where the guest is primary even if the host has nothing. I also want all of us to know that poetry is such a deep part of Persian culture, even among the illiterate. Rumi is probably the most widely recognized of the six major Persian poets. The classical Persian music is based on that poetry.'

1 comment:

irving said...

Ah, I wish I could be there. Lotfi, the great classical world class tar musician, as well as at least two members of the Lian Ensemble, are Nimatullahi darvishes. One, Houman Pourmahdi, and I did readings of poetry in Chicago, me reading in English, and he playing the ney and daf, and singing the poetry. What fun days :)

Ya Haqq!