Trio de zarb

Artist: Trio Chemirani

Name: Trio de zarb

Released: 2008

Label: ALSUR

Format: Cristal

Total playing:

Price : 12.50 €

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Ref.: CR00853ALSU


Trio de zarb (Trio Chemirani)

The zarb, or tombak, is the main percussion instrument played in classical Persian music. The
word “zarb” has three meanings : strike, measure and beat. Tombak is an onomotopea : “tom”
designating the sound made when the drum is struck in the middle (the lower sound) and “bak” is
the sound made when it is struck on the edge.
This gobelet drum is made from a single piece of mulberry or walnut wood and is covered with a
goat skin.
The Chemiranis, father and sons, all learned from the school of Hossein Teherani (Djamchid
directly, Bijan and Keyvan were taught by their father). They have taken the rhythms of the eleventh
and twelfth centuries, those rhythms used in Persian mystical poetry and combined them with
their imagination.
Their music is in the form of a dialogue or speeches that cross through a constantly changing
soundscape, going from low and deep sequences in unisson to intense polyrhythmics, exploring the
instrument’s multiple possibilities in melody and tone.
Most of these pieces were composed orally (none are in music notation, they are only played, sung
and memorized), and were developed from improvisations.
Saint Maime l - Tappeh (The Hill) : This piece begins on a traditional beat and develops into rhythms
used in poetry. At the end we move into a 9/8 beat, on a simple transition in triple time, then the
beat is doubled to end in 9/16.
Molla Nasr’din : A short piece in 6/4 time that demonstrates the diversity of sounds.
Saint Maime ll - Tchaïkhané (The Tea House) : In this long composition in 4/4 time, traditional and
original rhythms are combined. Towards the middle, there is a dialogue between the two zarbs
(Djamchid and Keyvan) during an exchange of four times four measures that leads up to a
long conclusion.
Mardjane : A piece built around a 10/4 beat that repeatedly comes back throughout.
This composition is played twice, with an improvision in between the two.
Maryam : The only piece that is entirely improvised, on 7 beats (2+2+3) with a conclusion played
in unisson.

Djamchid Chemiran was born in Teheran. He was a disciple of H. Teherani. He arrived in Europe in
1961 when he started teaching at the C.E.M.O. (Centre d’Etudes de la Musique Orientale, Institut
de Musicologie de la Sorbonne). The western public discovered him as a soloist or alongside the
great masters of traditional Persian music. He has always been open and inspired and has participated
in numerous creations in various musical fields : contemporary, mideaval, music for theater
or for dance.
Bijan and Keyvan Chemirani learned the zarb from their father Djamchid at an early age. They
quickly assimilated the traditional techniques and repertories. They play with various groups specializing
in oriental and Mediterranean music.


Trio Chemirani - Musicians

  • Djamchid CHEMIRANI : zarb
  • Keyvan CHEMIRANI : zarb
  • Bijan CHEMIRANI : zarb


1 - Saint Maime l        10’ 49’’
2 - Molla Nasr’din          3’ 45’’
3 - Saint Maime 2        13’ 07’’
4 - Mardjane            13’ 50’’
5 - Maryam              8’ 06’’