Dastgah Nava, the Chakavak Ensemble's debut album. presents a new recording of traditional art music from Iran. The modal system of Iranian music is based upon the dastgah system, similar to the raga in Indian music. What makes this recording particularly unique is the use of the qanun (middle eastern harp) as the lead instrument. Though the qanun is considered an important instrument in the classical music of Egypt and Turkey, its role in traditional Persian music has been minimal due to the popularity of the santur and tar beginning in the 12th century.
Shahla Nikfal, who is considered the preeminent qanun virtuoso of Persian music, has developed a unique technique incorporating elements from traditional santur and tar playing and adapted them to the qanun. An esteemed virtuoso and pedagogue, she has performed and taught at the Tehran Conservatory of Music and the Art University Collective. After collaborating with her husband, Bahram Sadeghian, on this album, their work together won critical acclaim described as "the most authentic, and technically proficient interpreters of Persian art music in decades."
This recording is also the first of its kind on the Digital Audiophile Series. It utilizes vintage Neuman microphones and Neve preamps to capture the depth and resonance of the tompak (wooden hand drum)and the daf (frame drum) by Paul Aljian as well as Ms Nikfal's customized three octave, metal string qanun. Bahram Sadeghian's vocalization of ancient poetry by Sheyda and Shahla Nikfal's interpretations of classical pieces by Hossein Alizadeh make this one of the most complete recordings of Persian Classical Music yet.
A sophomore album is currently being recorded.