Hamed Sadeghi is a world music specialist who plays Tar, Setar and Oud. He performs within a diverse range of musical projects, such as Adam and Eve Project Malaysia, Ayeneha Project Iran, Sami in Paradise Production Sydney and the Illiad Outload project Australia, as well as composing and performing his own original music at Vivid festival, Sydney Festival, Penang Jazz festival Malaysia, and etc.
He studied Iranian classical music in Tehran and master of sound engineering in Malaysia. He has toured in Iran, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Taiwan to perform Persian traditional music and collaborate with acclaimed musicians including maestro Shahram Nazeri and Shahrokh Aziz.
He formed Eishan Ensemble in Australia and their album Nim Dong was released to critical acclaim late 2018. Eishan Ensemble has been continuously touring nationally and internationally in different countries since it is been formed.
Hamed is involved in a Jazz World music trio including Lloyd Swanton and Jeremy Rose.
THE STREET TALKED TO HAMED AS HE PREPARES TO BRING THE EISHAN ENSEMBLE TO CANBERRA.
DESCRIBE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MUSIC.
As a human being I respect music as we don’t necessarily need to destroy anything to make a musical phrase!
As a musician I can spend all my day practicing or listening to music. I remember when I was 18, I barely spent time outside but just practicing.
Listening to music is like watching a very serious movie that needs all my attention. Sometimes it is even hard to eat or drive while I’m listening to music.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBILITIES OF THE TAR AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR YOU?
Tar can be a very elegant man or a cheeky baby or an elusive woman. I can play classical, jazz or folk songs with a different interpretation on the tar. I feel that I am playing myself when I hit the strings and it gives me an opportunity to know myself better.
I try to play the tar not only as a melodic but a percussive instrument as well. Tar as a wooden musical instrument, with a sheep’s skin that does the sound posting on the body, is a very fragile instrument that has a very unique sound. It is the most important instrument in the Persian Classical Music to present the Radif which is the Iranian Classical Music Treasure. In the past few years I have committed myself into exploring new methods of playing this instrument while I am looking at other styles of contemporary music, to fuse the Radif with them.
PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT THE EISHAN ENSEMBLE AND THE SOUNDS WE CAN EXPECT.
Eishan Ensemble is a vehicle for the music of the tar while every other instrument maintains their personality.
We have found our common grounds in Eishan where tar communicates with every one of them in a different way. Pedram Layegh on the guitar is trained in classical and flamenco, Michael Avgenicos in Jazz, Elsen Price in Classical and Adem Yilmaz is a middle eastern percussionist. The music you hear from Eishan is an intimate communication between these instruments with different tastes of improvisations in between.
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO COLLABORATION WITH OTHER MUSICIANS?
When starting a new musical project, a new team culture is cultivated no matter how big or small the project is. It is important for me that the character of the instruments is maintained and I will not impose myself, however I would like to challenge them and get myself challenged as well. I let them know about my ideas and if they are interested we start jamming.
If it is an improvised collaborative project, I listen to their music for many times. I play their music on the tar and then I give them my music. My collaborations with other musicians most of the times last for a long time, we develop things in our journey and we try to make something which is purely music orientated.
HOW HAS YOUR CULTURAL HERITAGE INFORMED YOUR CREATIVE LIFE INCLUDING COMPOSING AND PERFORMING?
As a person born and raised in Iran I carry a lot of emotions. They come out through my music and compositions.
Iranian culture is a community orientated culture and I can see a lot of sharing in my compositions.
YOUR CAREER HAS TAKEN YOU ACROSS CONTINENTS AND YOU ARE NOW BASED IN AUSTRALIA. WHAT SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES IN THE MUSIC SCENE HAVE YOU DISCOVERED?
The music scene in Australia is very diverse and it provides opportunities for many styles of music. I am always grateful for the chances that I have been given.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES IN A CROSS-CULTURAL INTERNATIONAL MUSIC PROJECT?
Dealing with cultural differences and language barriers are of the challenges. I realised that I need to address the existence of diverse cultural backgrounds within the band and the necessity of navigating those differences. It is important to learn what those differences are, because one’s cultural background informs how we interact with others.
Sometimes the musicians in a project are based in different countries and it makes it hard to rehearse and communicate properly. We arrange online meetings and exchange audio files and try to practice on our own to be 100 percent ready when we get together for rehearsals.
YOU SCORED MUSIC IN COLLABORATION WITH MICHAEL ASKILL FOR THE ILLIAD OUT LOUD PROJECT AT THE SYDNEY FESTIVAL THIS YEAR. TELL US MORE.
When William Zappa contacted me regarding this project we discussed different possibilities and then we flew to Brisbane to meet Michael. We could see that this collaboration was going to work and we started scoring the music at the same time the team was rehearsing.
All the Greek Persian stories that I had read in school when I was a kid was coming back to the surface and gave me inspirations to play along with the amazing musician Michael Askill. I played the oud, tar and setar in that project at the Sydney Festival. We are going to perform The Illiad at the Adelaide Festival 2020 as well.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
We are now in the process of recording a new album with Eishan Ensemble and I have used two guest musicians for this new recording – Sonya Holowell as vocalist and Adnan Barake on the Oud alongside the core memebers of Eishan. This is going to be released early next year. Some songs from the new album will be performed at The Street Theatre on the 24th of November.
We are doing another national tour and a European tour in 2020 to present our new album.
WHAT’S INSPIRING YOU IN MUSIC AT THE MOMENT?
Inspirations would hit me differently. It could be when I am practising or it can be when I am eating out with a friend and discussing politics. But let me say reading books and playing Jazz Standards on the tar is really inspiring me these days.