Oct 12, 2009

Lineage Through Duende

I am listening to a recording of my great-grandmother. It is a CD of fifteen songs, poorly recorded from what remained of her music on vinyl. It is all I have of her. No memories, no photos; only these fifteen songs.

Parvaneh was the first Iraani woman whose voice was pressed on vinyl. From a nomadic peoples (details of which remain unknown to me), my great-grandmother did not have much in terms of material wealth. Her husband was a tailor and she cleaned rich people's homes. The story goes that wealthy employers overheard her singing one day, and decided she had a gift that required special attention by the great music masters. And that is how Parvaneh came to strengthen her vocal abilities in the classical style of Iranian music (musiq'ieh sonnatieh Iraani).

How strange to be listening to her voice as I write this. A woman who I know so little about. She died when my grandmother was only five years old. I know her through her music. These fifteen songs. In between every tahreer, each half-tone, in every pause, every breath, she is present. I lose myself in her music; I lose myself in her; I lose myself in duende. How beautiful to know lineage in this way. My great-grandmother. The reason I exist. The reason I too long for duende.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kalimba said...

Yours is a beautiful and important history. Thank you for sharing a little bit of her with us. The world is a charmed place for the voices of that lineage.

10:57 AM  
Blogger The Hand Of Fatima Design said...

oh merci azizam, thank you so much. inshallah, sooner than later you'll be in the hood.
salamz

1:46 PM  

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