Sound that Transcends Colours and Cultures
by: Amir Nadimi
Larri was born and raised in Los Angeles. He lives in the San Fernando
Valley, Califoria. During the Disco era of the late 1970's Larri played lead
guitar for the Motown band Appollo. In the 1980's he produced the first
demo tape for The Untouchables that was later released as a CD. In the
mid 80's Larri formed Mooseheart Faith Stellar Groove Band. They toured
Europe and released 5 CD's . Around 1999 Larri fell in love with Persian
Traditional Music and began to study under a Master of Kamancheh in
Los Angeles. Larri considers his music on-line to be a mix of ancient art
and modern technology with east and west influence. Presently he is
working on his own blend of Afro-Persian Music that combines influences
of Traditional Negro Blues and Qajar Era Persian Music with a modern
flavor spice added. He also is involved in the study of Traditional Persian
BODAZEY.COM took a moment to sit down with Larri to explore and learn
more about what drives a man from another culture with a totally different
musical background to embrace the traditional Persian sounds that have
taken a backseat to the explosive Persian Pop music industry piped out of
1) Hi Larri, it's not often that we see modern musicians attracted to traditional sounds from other cultures.
Being of African-American origin what brought you to the world of Traditional Iranian music ?
I have always had an interest in Middle -Eastern music since I was a kid in the 1960's here in Los Angeles.
The Beatles, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and others were influenced by the sounds and philosophy of the Middle East.
When I was studying in University I met some very nice Persian gentlemen and ladies. I was charmed by their
Baha'i and Sufi religious concepts. And I was deeply moved by the great Persian poets such as Rumi and Hafez.
Then there was the music as well. I was a guitarist and had a contract with Motown records at the time. Over time
my friendship with many Persian grew. I collaborated with some musicians. It was not until around 5 years ago that
I decided to study Persian music in a more formal manner and play an instrument that can create the quarter tones
that are needed to create the distinct beautiful Persian Dastgah. I was introduced to a Master of Persian Music and
started to study in the traditional method by ear. I am a recording engineer so I started recording almost immediately
with the encouragement of my progressive Ostad, Ostad Morteza Varzi.
2) Music truly is something that transcends cultures and languages. However, traditional musicians such as
those in Iran, may also feel some kind of spiritual link or energy when playing intruments such as the
kamancheh, do you feel any of those things ?
My friend, to answer this question it would take volumes of text. But let me say that listening to music and playing
music brings on intense emotional and spiritual experience. Baha'i philosophy explains that music can be used as
a ladder for the soul. Many Sufi practices use music to gain elevated states of spiritual existence, as I understand it.
I love many instruments from European Alto Horn to Lap Steel Slide Guitar to Rebab, to Daf, to Setar . . . . . . .
BUT the Kamancheh seems to speak to me. It was neglected for a period of time as it was over shadowed by the
European violin. Ostad Varzi explained to me that now many people are playing Kamancheh again, but they are
it with style of violin instead if how Kamancheh should be played in Traditional technique.
3) What is your eventual goal with your music ?
I once asked my Ostad "what should be my goal with Kamancheh over the next few years ?" He said
with a gentle wise laugh of confidence "You will find your way."
4) What can we expect next from Larri ?
Now I have some desires to do many things with Kamancheh. I would like to create an ensemble with
Kamancheh, Tombak, Rebab, Tar, and Santur. I would like to improvise and compose some Persian traditional
Classical and Folk music. I also would like to adapt Persian Dastgah and Qajar Era sound with 1930's and 40's
era Negro Blues. There seems to be a common root to these forms of music. An ancient deep connection
that I wish to explore.I also wish to find a Persian manager and a company who can help me distribute this concept
in Iran , Middle-East, African continent and the world as a whole. I also hope to be able to play some concerts in
small venues in Iran.
5) Thank you for your time Larri, BODAZEY.COM wishes you all the best of luck in your future endeavours.
Thank you my friend for your support and interest in my Afro-Persian Kamancheh explorations ! Peace !
interview written by: Amir Nadimi
All rights reserved.
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