tombak, daf, dayré, zang-e saringôshti
Review by nsabba (Brookline, MA):
Madjid Khaladj's percussion work give voice to the stretched skin on daf, drum, and dayereh in ways that are abstractions of the human voice in the way that earthen vases and pots are abstractions of human existence for Khayyam. I became familiar with this amazing artist only a year ago, and can't stop spreading the pleasure I've derived from listening to him.
Actually I heard his tombak during a 1994 performance of the Paris based Mostagh group, was truly taken by it but didn't realize who it was until I got this CD last year. The true measure of percussionists in Iran has been Hossein Tehrani, who in the fifties and sixties raised the level of the tombak to that of a solo instrument. He showed everyone the capability of the percussion to suggest implied melodies and absent voices which it would have accompanied were they present in a give piece. Madjid Khaladj makes these abstracted suggestions come alive, especially on the daf, the larger of the three main stretch skinned percussive instruments of Iran...
You will be pleased with the broad appeal of this artist. He uses persian instruments, but in his hand, they speak universal passages.
Madjid Khaladj / A Master of Iranian Music
Of the many talented younger players from the Iranian classical music scene, this player of the tombak* and other traditional instruments has made the most widespread inroads on the Western music scene, although the rewards of that may be questioned when they include soundtrack appearances on such Hollywood duds as Geronimo, Last Man Standing or The Insider...
The instrument played by Madjid Khaladj is known as a tombak in Iran, a dombak in Turkey, and has an Irish relative in the bhodran. Khaladj began studying the instrument at the age of seven, the initial pounding and banging of a youth leading to a brilliant career as a traditional musician, pedagogue, composer, and lecturer. He has mastered an entire family of Iranian percussion instruments, including the daf...actually considered as a mystical drum. The musical adventures of Khaladj have led to collaborations with the traditional Armenian vocal group Kotchnak, as well as the laid-back California recording scene of world music wannabe Ry Cooder. The Iranian also went far from his roots when he recorded an album entitled Chopin, Impressions with pianist Leszek Mozdzer and the results of this collaboration can only be described as fascinating.
Khaladj has moved well beyond what is sometimes seen as the drummer's traditional role in the background to lead numerous activities on the international scene, including festivals, concerts, and recordings. Since 1984, he has taught the percussion traditions of his country at the Center for Study of Oriental Musics in the Institute of Musicology of Paris-Sorbonne. In 1996, he founded the College of Tombak, a center of Iranian percussion study, in Paris. Since 1999, he has been invited to teach at the Music Academy of Basel in Switzerland.
An astounding part of this performer is his extensive solo improvisation repertory. As for the many master Iranian musicians who call upon him for percussion support, most would agree that he has few rivals in terms of either instrumental sound or accurate rendition of such a wide variety of traditional rhythmic patterns.
Some of Khaladj's most noted works are: Anthology of Iranian Rhythms, Vol. I (1997) & Vol. II (1999), Iranian Percussions (2000), DVD of Tombak (2005), Nafas/ Iranian Art Percussion (2006) and the numerous recordings with masters such as Hossein Alizadeh, Hossein Omoumi, Dariush Talai, M.R. Lotfi and M.R. Shajarian.
~ Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide