Keyvan Chemirani


Santur, Tombak, Frame Drum


, , , Iranian, North Indian, South Indian

Keyvan Chemirani was born in Paris in 1968 and grew up in southern France, where his father and master, Djamchid Chemirani, introcuded him to the tradition of the zarb, the Persian classical drum. He has performed internationally as soloist and accompanist since he was a student at university. In addition to zarb, he plays other percussion instruments, such as the bendir and daf frame drums and the udu, a clay jug used in the East and Africa. He is also a fine player of Indian santur.

Keyvan, along with his father and brother Bijan, formed the Chemirani Trio which draws on rhythms of Persian poetry, presenting innovative compositions revealing infinite possibilities within Persian percussion through succinct polyrhythmic dialogue, infinite technical variation, and an extraordinary onstage complicity.

Keyvan draws inspiration equally from the metrical science of South Indian music, from modal music from the Mediterranean basin to India, as well as jazz masters, and he continuously seeks a common musical language between disparate cultures. Keyvan’s original recordings, The Rhythm of Speech I & II (2004 & 2006), feature singers from many traditions with the percussion underlining the rhythms of the words, thus abstracting their semantic meaning in a subtle and unexpected interplay.

Keyvan has collaborated extensively in cross-cultural projects in styles ranging from jazz, to early, classical, Baroque and contemporary music, Indian, Celtic, Turkish and Greek traditions, including artists, such as Kudsi Erguner, Ross Daly, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Sylvain Luc, Didier Lockwood, Louis Sclavis, Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Leonardo Garcia Alarcon , cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, pianist Shani Diluka, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Mongolian singer Urna, Eric Marchand & Thierry Robin (Brittany/ Eastern music); Françoise Atlan (Judeo-Spanish songs); and Juan Carmona (flamenco).

Keyvan’s current projects include:

* The Rhythm Alchemy, combining the family trio, Indian percussion, drums, and Vincent Ségal on the cello and Sokratis Sinopoulos on the lyra.

* Jasmin Toccata joins the delicacy of baroque instruments (Thomas Dunford on the theorbo and Jean Rondeau on the harpsichord) with Middle Eastern modality.

* Hâl. The Loving Journey incorporates original creations and arrangements of traditional Irish, Turkish and Persian music, with vocalist Maryam Chemirani and virtuoso Celtic flutist Sylvain Barou, endeavoring together to the state of hâl, combining awakening and self-forgetfulness, which is fundamental in Persian learned music.