Shahriyar Jamshidi, a Kurdish-Iranian Canadian Kamanche (kemançe) player, composer, vocalist, director of Dilan Ensemble, co-founder of Kamancello and awards winner, is a graduate of Tehran University of Art and a former artist-in-residence at Banff Centre. He is also well known as a creative Kurdish kamanche (four stringed-spiked-fiddle) improviser.
He was raised up in a traditional Kurdish community where the members had a tight connection to the music in their daily life. He remembers when he was seven, his father took him to the Sufi celebration events annually. In that abundant mysterious rituals, the audiences who were sitting cross-legged on the floor politely and formal sang and clapped spiritually. The group of musicians played Tambour entire night. The mythical harmonies gradually gave him the best passion he needed and brought him to the sky. Shahriyar found that the music has power and capability to change his sense more than his family members. Therefore, his routine became to listen to live music on Kurdish radio channels every night. Due political issues and eight years of war in Iran, Shahriyar did not have an opportunity to learn music until age seventeen.
Shahriyar received his Kamanche training with celebrated musicians such as Mahmood Merati, Mojtaba Mirzadeh, Ardeshir Kamkar and Hadi Montazeri focusing on the study of Kurdish music in order to reconstruct the old songs of the Kurds, his people.
Kurdish Music and Dilan Ensemble
In developing countries, the cultural capital, music, in particular, is in danger of extinction. He believes that an effective way to retain the ethnic music is to bring this type of music to daily life. He has been a professional musician for nearly thirty years. He has devoted his artistic career to the preservation and transmission of Kurdish musical heritage, attempting to recreate the classical Kurdish music in an understandable way for younger generations. Shahriyar considers this effort as a cultural bridge between past and future. In 2003, He founded the Dilan Ensemble (derived from the name of the Kurdish musician Qadir Dilan), which has since performed numerous times in Tehran and other cities of Iran. He has also performed on several well-known Kurdish TV channels including Kurdistan, Newroz, and Kurdsat, 2002-2007.
Since settling in Canada in 2012, Shahriyar has consistently sought new musical languages, thereby crossing cultures with his Kamanche Solo music. He has already performed at Toronto’s Tirgan Festival, International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM) in Switzerland and Canada, High-Fest in Armenia, Festival du Monde Arabe de Montréal, Ontario Present, Mc Master University, 33rd World Conference of International Society for Music Education in Azerbaijan, University of Minneapolis School of Music in United State, Cello Biennial in the Netherlands, Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Aga Khan Museum concert series.
As a composer, Shahriyar has devoted his career to preserving the ancient music history of Kurdistan by composing and arrangement pieces for Kamanche, vocals, and orchestra.
He released several albums include five solo records (Alvanati (2004), Call of the Mountains (2008), A Yellow Flower (2014), The Lullaby of A Nomad (2018) and My Sunset-Land ROJAVA (2020)), and Meet Me in Tangier (2016), Kamancello (2017), Kamancello II: Voyage (2019) and Of Shadows (2020).
He is also received several awards from Canada Arts Council; International Society for Music Education ISME; Imagine, University of Minneapolis School of Music; SOCAN Foundation; Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council.