Teaching ancient instruments new tricks
Acclaimed as one of the world’s leading hand drummers, Mortazavi’s sophisticated dexterity has revolutionised traditional Persian daf and tombak drumming into complex polyrhythmic melodies with limitless variation. Over the course of his career, Mortazavi has developed more than 30 new stroke and finger techniques. So don’t let clichés about old dogs trick you.
Dating back to more than 3000 years, the daf is a Persian frame drum, modified with percussive additions (bells, rings, chains) along the inner rim. For such a simple drum, do not underestimate its dynamic range; it can be riotously loud but also subtle, calming and intricate.
Considered the principal percussion instrument of Persian music, the tombak is a goblet-shaped wooden drum. Often elaborately decorated with bone, wood and micro-mosaics, the ornaments adorning the tombak are a symbol of Persian culture.