📸: Shirin Nahvi
I was a little kid at my great grandmother's apartment in LA. It was another one of our giant, chaotic family potluck/Shabbat dinners. Out of nowhere one of my amoos (uncles) brought out this large circular instrument with little rings on the inside, jangling against its inner skin. My skinny, lil, walker-using Nane Tooti; whose cold, veiny hands shook every time she pulled me close with love-fueled strength to kiss my cheeks; was seated on the couch on the far side of the apartment from me, seated between her sons and quietly accepted the frame drum. This noise started resonating, booming even, out of her hands... and like a fawn hearing a tree collapse in the distance, I was alert. It was spiritual - something was reaching into all of us, hypnotizing us. I've always had an inclination to sound. So any instrument would have likely made me stop playing with my cousins and stare. But I don't remember being introduced to any other instruments as freshly as I remember this one.
I've been wanting to learn how to play #daf for years, and now that I've bitten into the fruit, I can say the pit has fallen into the earth and will be forming a sonorous tree.
Daf is a frame drum native to #Kurdistan, Northern Iran, used in our music and celebrations since the ancient days of the Zoroastrians' Persian Empire. I'm honored to share even a small glimpse into its voice & character with you all. This song has inspired something much larger, so in case you love this drum as much as I do... please stand by 🖤