Avaye Naerika Percussion Orchestra is an Iranian percussion orchestra featuring 40 lady percussionists. The Orchestra was established as Iran’s largest all-female percussion orchestra in 2008 by Ms. Minoo Rezaei under the title Naerika Percussion Orchestra and changed its name to Avaye Naerika in 2017.
In the Pahlavi Persian language, Naerika means a prominent woman. As implied by its name, the Orchestra has been successful in bringing together prominent female percussionists who are committed to promote percussion music. Minoo Rezaei who conducts the orchestra is a Daf player and composes the pieces which Avaye Naerika performs.
One of the main missions of the Orchestra is to show the capabilities of Iranian lady musicians in performing percussion instruments and to demonstrate their knowledge of rhythms. Drawing on the virtuosity of its percussionists, the Orchestra has successfully achieved one of its most important goals which is to establish the effective relationship that percussion instruments can make with their audience.
The style which Avaye Naerika pursues is a combination of percussion instruments, vocalists and in some parts bowed string instruments and plucked string instruments. The group also tries to establish a common language by combining folk and ethnic cultures through music. Visual effects are also used during Avaye Naerika’s performances to create an ambience which is conducive to a better reception of the music.
Since its very first concert at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall in 2011, the Orchestra was well received by the audience and their enthusiasm has led to frequent concerts in Tehran and other cities in Iran. Avaye Naerika Orchestra has also performed in Istanbul, Turkey and is the first all-female percussion orchestra which was invited to “The Drum Cafe” festival in Kenya which is held annually.
Avaye Naerika has been performing pieces in collaboration with male percussionists in different concerts. A piece entitled “Dialogue” composed by Minoo Rezaei involves a musical dialogue between male and female percussionists.
Bowed string instruments such as the Kamancheh and plucked string instruments such as the Oud accompany the percussion orchestra for pieces such as “the Sea” and regional Iranian pieces like Kordi and Lori pieces.
Avaye Naerika Orchestra uses instruments such as Daf, Dayereh, Tonbak, Tabla and Darbuka and instruments such as spring drum, wood block, singing ball, egg shaker, etc. to create sound effects.
Avaye Naerika’s latest concert was held at Vahdat Hall on February 26, 2019.
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- Gholam Reza Khan Minbashian: a pioneer in Iranian music (I)
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- Avaye Naerika Percussion Orchestra
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- Polyphony in Iranian Music (III)
From Past Days…
Persian Set: Four Movements for chamber orchestra: Moderato; Allegretto; Lento; Rondo
Henry Cowell, one of the most innovative American composers of the 20th century, was born in 1897. Cowell and his wife visited Iran in 1956 and stayed there the whole winter, upon the invitation by the Iranian Royal Family, when he composed his album “Persian Set” in four movements for chamber orchestra. His composition is expressive of the characteristic quality of the Persian or the Iranian music.
Regional music festivals are organized to, firstly, introduce the music of different regions and, secondly, to support its performers. Regional music festivals are held in large cities for various reasons, including the availability of financial and executive facilities and the presence of an audience. However, the organization of these festivals has always been one of the challenging issues of ethnomusicology. The reason is that the presence of regional music performers in large cities places them in a context other than the context they would normally perform in their homes; consequently this change in situation leads to changes in the quality of their performance.
Gholamreza Khan Minbashian taught courses such as organology, orchestration of military music and harmony based on the books which were translated from French into Persian with the help of Aliakbar Mozayyan-o-Dolleh (1846-1932).
In addition to the above-mentioned, polyphony can be also formed when a melody is performed by several singers in different ambiances or different sound registers according to their physiologic abilities. An example of this has been performed in rituals of Khanqah of Ghaderi darawish of Mahabad[i].
In the world music culture, there are instruments which were traditionally associated with a certain gender. It remains disputable to what extent these gender-based perceptions have been logical and scientific. For example, as playing wind instruments need more breath strength and the public opinion believe that men have stronger breath compared to women, these instruments are predominantly a male domain. Harp is also considered a female instrument as the public opinion believe that women have finer fingers and can therefore better perform nuances and delicate techniques on the instrument.
Torqeh or jal is the same bird (Bimaculated lark) and is the name of a muqam which is well-known in Torbate Jam and those areas. Jal muqam is called Torqeh in Esfarayen and Bojnourd. This muqam which was used to be played by Bakhshis/Bagşies (dutar-players) in the past is seldom performed today.
Gholam Hossein Banan was born in 1911 in Tehran. He was born in an affluent art-loving family who were Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (1848-1896)’s relative. The Qajar King was his mother’s uncle on her father’s side. He learnt his first lessons in music while his father sang Iranian avaz (improvised rhythmic-free singing), he then attended classes by the renowned Iranian composer, Morteza Neydavoud (1900-1990) along with his sisters; the composer is, therefore, considered as his first teacher. He then learnt Iranian avaz under the supervision of Mirza Taher Zia Resaee (Zia-o Zakerin) and Naser Seif in an oral manner.
Composing a traditional Iranian opera using the Iranian modal system, dastgāh, has always been my dream. I first approached this by composing an opera called Ashura followed by the operas Rumi and Hafez. I believe that in order to attract an international audience for Iranian opera, it is essential to fuse dastgāh with Western classical forms.
The “Pledge of Love” is the first album in a series composed based on the tasnifs by the renowned Iranian tasnif-maker Mohammad Ali Amir Jahed and recorded by Sahba Kohan Ensemble with Ramin Bahiraie as signer.
Rouhollah Khaleghi was the master of composing beautiful melodies. He was the premier of the course of history which was first established by Ali Naghi Vaziri and which improved the Iranian music from simply a gathering music to the classical music of the country. First efforts to compose independent and instrumental music can be also traced in Khaleghi’s works.