Ziya Tabassian, tombak et percussions

Biography [Français]

Ziya Tabassian started playing the tombak (a Persian percussion) at the age of 11. From 1994 to 2001 he studied classical percussion with Julien Gr?oire in Montreal, and has completed a Bachelor degree in percussion interpretation at the Universit?de Montr?l. During winter 2002, with the help of Quebec Art Council, Ziya went back to Iran for a tombak training with M. Bahman Rajabi. Recently, he completed a residency at the Banff Centre for the arts, where he explored the contemporary music on the Persian percussions.

He plays in several classical, modern and world music ensembles and is an active and a co-fonder member of both Constantinople (Middle Age and Renaissance music) and Duo Pr?ices (soprano & percussion). Ziya has performed in several concerts in Canada, the U.S. and Greece, notably at the World Music Institute in New York, the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, Megaron Mousikis in Athens and Chicago's World Music Festival.

Ziya was invited to participate in the recording of a new release by Kayhan Kalhor with the Kronos Quartet. Also, along with his brother Kiya, he has recorded a CD of Persian classical music entitled Garden of the Memory on the XXI-21 label. He has already three CDs with Constantinople on the ATMA label and recorded for many other productions, such with the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and En Chordais.

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The tombak

The tombak or the zarb, the main percussion instrument in classical Persian music, is a one-sided drum carved out of the trunk of a walnut or mulberry tree and covered in goat or lamb skin. The tombak is played with both bare hands requiring movement of the wrists and speed of the musician?s hands facilitate a wide variety of strokes to create a whole gamut of tones and colours.

In classical Persian music, the tombak plays a dual role, one which is rhythmical, the other melodic. Both these dimensions, one vertical and the other horizontal, are rendered in a sophisticated and structured rhythmical language which is particular to classical Persian music. Cyclical phrases, poetic meter, compound rhythms and development through variations are some of the elements of this language.

Artist's homepage: www.ziyatabassian.com