Hamed Nikpay‘s concert tour for his wonderful CD “All is Calm” is tonight in LA. It is unfortunate that this overlaps with the concert by master Shahram Nazeri and his son, Hafez Nazeri. First off, it is really a shame that these two performances have to overlap. It is not that often that we get such high quality performances. It is partly bad planning or perhaps lack of adequate communication. Unfortunately this seems to happen often in our Iranian community. I know many people including myself who have chosen to go see one, would go see the other if they were in different nights. s much I’d like to see that concert as well.

But, I am going to skip Nazeris’ concert and go see and support my talented friend Hamed. This is Hamed’s first big concert in LA and I would not want to miss it. I have seen Nazeri at least 6-7 times so far over the years. And I saw the father-son team perform in their last great concert tour a few years back which focused on Hafez’s original compositions performed by an interesting international musical cast, Rumi Ensemble, that Hafez formed and that included several non-traditional instruments. No doubt, Hafez who has formal Western musical training from Mannes College of Music in NY, in addition to his knowledge of and training in the traditional Persian music, can carry his own weight and stand on his own talent successfully.

So with all respect for and interest in the Nazeris’ work especially Hafez’s, I am going to skip their concert. I met Hamed a few years back in the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after he had arrived from Iran. It is hard not to like the guy; and once you hear his beautiful and mesmerizing voice and see him rip on his setar, you will fall in love with him!

Hamed Nikpay, Seattle, July 2009

Hamed Nikpay, Seattle, July 2009

Although Hamed is also trained in the traditional Persian music, he’s a breath of fresh air with his own unique touch, his choice of wonderful poetry, and fusion of traditional persian music with flamenco and jazz influences and presence of non-Persian instruments such as flamenco guitar, saxophone and clarinet.

The first rate musicians he performs with all have mastery of their instruments and deserve a mention here: Greg Ellis on percussion and drums, Farzin Farhadi on saxophone and clarinet who is also the technical director for the ensemble, Daniel Fries on flamenco guitar, who is also Hamed’s main collaborator for many of the arrangements and is the band’s musical director, and Dimitris Mahlis on oud.

If you can’t make this concert make sure you hear his music and get his CD. There are plenty of samples of his songs on Youtube.com as well as his own website referenced above. Here is a good one for the occasion of the mis-election of June 2009 and the green movement in Iran that has followed. Kudos to him!

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