Kaweh: Persian Passion vs Spanish Guitar


Kaweh: Persian Passion vs Spanish Guitar
by bahmani

If you live in the Bay Area, you are privileged to see a lot of the top Iranian artists in the world deliver their art right to your doorstep. And even after they are gone, we are often yet still privileged to have more than our fair share of fine local talent to choose from.

One of these is Kaweh (pronounced Kaveh). Kaweh (born Kaveh Zolfaghar) is a half-Iranian, half-German, who grew up in Germany and unlike most of us who were coming the other way, went to Iran in 1979. He tells the story of how he used to silence the sounds of the bombings during the Iran-Iraq war, by listening to music in his home's basement. Such is the connection, the power visible, his love of his music, obvious.

When he was old enough, as many others who were prevented from leaving Iran at that time, he was finally allowed to leave in 1984 and relocated back to Germany, but by now having lost 2 years of school in the process. As a result of this, he decided to come to the US where he could pickup his lost education and lost time, far faster than in strict Germany, and so he relocated to the Bay Area, Cupertino specifically.

At age 20, without any clear career direction obvious, he hung out with his American friends, who had started a band. He learned a few chords and how to sing from his bandmates, and became infected. His attraction to and love of the guitar drew him to it by the pure expression of passion and emotion that he had learned to connect with, up to that point in his young life. The style and technique of the Spanish guitar gave him something far more than the simple emotional outlet he craved. That we all crave.

The Spanish guitar gives the enthusiast, whether you are an avid listener or an expert player like Kaweh, many offerings. Of course we know it most prominently as one of time's most common ways of expressing the innocent joy of love,  or an even deeper love, and the deepest of the 3 types of loves, pure raw unapologetic passion. All at once, all in a respectful, polite, yet intimately private way. Of course!

But it can also express the sweetest deep sorrow and soulful sadness, that we as Iranians often crave, occasionally more than passion. Anger? Absolutely. Another need we Iranians deservedly have. The Spanish guitar perfectly delivers all this to us. This can explain the easy-ready acceptance of Spanish guitar music by Iranian listeners worldwide. The Spanish guitar just talks to, and for us, is all.

Kaweh, in my opinion is the best of the best of us at this. One better than that, he is the best of the best at it, while he is also of us. It is uneasily easy to listen to Kaweh perform, because not only is he playing and singing what is on the surface, already acceptable, but there is the added bonus of knowing that his playing and singing comes from his heart. Your heart. An Iranian heart. The connection Iranians feel to Kaweh's music, knowing he knows, that which only another Iranian can possibly know, is painful and perfect.

The best way to experience this, is of course during one of his live performances. And thankfully Kaweh is available for ready consumption at many locations around the Bay Area. Unlike the other bands that seem to expect to only play to half sold out large concert venues once a year, Kaweh performs weekly at a variety of locations. Anything from the famous Jazz mecca of Yoshi's, to the grand nostalgia-rich Great American Music Hall or Palace of Fine Arts, to smaller intimate venues and clubs. The formula seems to be, to simply play. 5 albums later, Kaweh has achieved what few others have, namely the respect and comradeship of the established Spanish guitar world, and playing with greats like Sol y Luna, Edgardo Cambon, Dror Sinai and others, you would not recognize.

Kaweh's latest recording, "Live in San Francisco" is a perfectly balanced DVD/CD set, and a great sampling of the culmination of his best work, performed live. This is a great collector's item and sure to be a favorite during your parties, whether you entertain with background music, or as many of us now tend to do, run the DVD through the plasma and surround sound system for a rich audio visual experience. Kaweh's DVD not only aids the cultural and nutritional digestion, it also stimulates the conversation as well. Mostly it goes like this,  "Midoonesti Iroonieh?" "Jooneman?"

The DVD is a well constructed experience showcasing the full Kaweh show. A balance of some of the best of Spanish, Latin Jazz, Rumba Flamenca (No, not Flamenco), Brazilian, and of course add in the blend of Persian and Middle Eastern rhythms and melody. Right about here, I would normally mention that there is a guest dancer performing on 2 of the 11 songs, but if I actually tell you any more, you'd think what you'd think, so I'll leave it at that. Just trust me, I promise, you'll love it.

The DVD is an hour in length, with additional footage in the bonus features, and it is so easy to listen to that it is completely loop-able. Many times. The smart companion CD provides a convenient way to put your now favorite artist in your car, on your computer, and most importantly these days, on your iPod. Personally, I have been running with it, and lost 5 pounds, so it works for that too!

It appears to me now as I write this, that Kaweh is far more than just good music, performed with passion, by a passionate Iranian soul. It is a cure-all of sorts. A much needed healing power of love, prescribed, delivered, and taken in a generous daily doses, primarily through the ears, and now with this DVD through the eyes.

Another great way to strengthen your heart. And soul.

You can learn more about Kaweh and see his albums and performance schedule by visiting his website at: www.kaweh.com


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by IRANdokht on

Thanks for the introduction Mr Bahmani!

I wish Kaweh and his band a long successful career. They should start promoting themselves better even on the web. The trailer on the site was interesting but not quite enough.

I love the style.