Maryam Rahmani on the multiplicity of santur sounds, poetry, and traditional Iranian music

Posted on: Wed 24 Nov 2021

Maryam Rahmani started playing the Santur, a percussive, delicate 72-stringed instrument, when she was 12 – but it was in her late teens, while studying physics, that she realised she wanted to be a musician.

After graduating from both physics and music in Tehran, Maryam migrated to Adelaide in 2019. She says that when she first arrived, she “was full of emotions” but didn’t have the vocabulary to speak about it. Music helped her during this time, to “talk without any words”.

Some people say the sound is first, and the meaning or the text will come after – but for me, always, the meaning has privilege.

Maryam Rahmani

This is what fascinates Maryam about music – how it can “dissolve boundaries” and foster a sense of “mutual respect and understanding”. And she will be bringing this ethos to her performance this Friday at Nexus Arts, where she will be collaborating with Grace Mensforth on cello and Fabian Hevia on percussion.

“It doesn’t matter whether you speak the same language, you can still talk through music,” Maryam says.

I really like to think about what I say with my music and then try to transfer that meaning with my music even if I have no singing.

Maryam Rahmani

Maryam speaks to us on Festival City ahead of her Nexus Arts Interplay performance this Friday and her gig at the Utopian State Picnic at the end of December.

Image: Morgan Sette

Produced by Anisha Pillarisetty

Festival City

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