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the project


When I first heard this poem, I was still too young to appreciate the musicality of KUOCHE BAQ-HA-YE NEYSHABOUR / THE GARDEN STREETS OF NEYSHABOUR by Mohammad-Reza Shafi'i Kadkani - yet its obscured message left a deep and unforgettable impression on my soul as a child.

In those days, music and poetry had a special place in our home. My mother had a delicate and musical temperament, and my father, who ran a shop specializing in scores, played the tar. Among my older brothers, one played the violin and another loved poetry and would occasionally have his work published in FERDOSI magazine. As for my other sisters and brothers, great enthusiasm and talent for music and poetry was always present and remains so to this day.

Listening to the music of such artists as Mahjoubi or Banan and becoming familiar with the writings of great minds like Shafi'i Kadkani built the foundation of my future artistic life which I could further develop by expanding my knowledge in specialized art schools. Today, this foundation gives me passion and courage to present my very own rendition of IN THE NAME OF THE RED ROSE in music and song.

The words of Shafi'i Kadkani connect your heart with the other side of the world; they do not recognize borders, and they belong to all human beings. It was pure joy to hear the music played by the members of the Dastan Ensemble and the guest musicians; the beautiful voice of Salar Aghili joins me in this melody so that we all can sing IN THE NAME OF THE RED ROSE with love.
Hamid Motebassem

the ensemble / the poet

Mohammad Reza Shafi'i Kadkani was born in 1939 in Kadkan, in the province of Khorasan in northern Iran. He received his early education in Mashad and later graduated from Mashad University with a degree in literature. He was a student of such prominent figures as Badiozzman Forouzanfar, Mohammad Moin, and Parviz Natel-Khanlari.

During his time as student, he became active in various cultural and literary societies, and his writings began to appear in a number of local publications. In 1953- together with a group of young writers - he founded a literary circle dedicated to the promotion of modern poetry and short stories. Later, he moved to Tehran and - after having earned a doctorate in Persian language and literature at Tehran University -- he became a professor of Persian literature there. His dissertation Imagery in Persian Poetry marked the beginning of a new era by introducing new literary discourses to the field of Persian literature studies in Iran and specifically in the study of Persian poetry. He has been a visiting professor and researcher at Oxford, Princeton and Harvard; he is since 2009 teaching Islamic Religious History and Literature at the School of Historical
Studies/The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

In addition to being an outstanding scholar of the classical tradition of Persian poetry, Shafi'i Kadkani has been a prolific author; his works have been published in two beautifully produced volumes, A Mirror for Voices and The Second Millenium of the Mountain Deer. He combines contemporary and experimental elements with a deep awareness of ancient tradition, and employs simple lyrical language to express complex thoughts.


1 Tassnif Sobh / Morning Song (for my sister Tahee) 7'10"
2 Avaz & Tar / Vocals and Tar 4'23"
3 Rags-e Atash / Fire Dance 5'55"
4 Taraneh Dibacheh / Prelude Part 1 5'23"
5 sitar solo 5'27"
6 Payam-e Baran / Message of Rain 3'24"
7 Taraneh Dibacheh / Prelude Part 2 3'24"
8 Dar An Karaneh / On That Shore 1'01"
9 Taraneh Dibacheh / Prelude Part 3 4'36"
10 Tassnif-e Barbat-e Soghdi / Sogdian Lute Song 7'18"
  Total Time 48'07"