A Review On The History Of Daf in Iran - By Bijan Kamkar
A Review On The History Of Daf in Iran
Daf is one of Iran’s drum instruments and it is a spiritual instrument, because in the older days this instrument was played only in Takaya’s and Xaneqah’s in Kurdistan. The sound of this old instrument carries the mantras of spiritual devotees of the Sufi path. In the search of the Daf, the author found that (before the Daf’s entrance into Iranian music of the past 3 decades) no where but Kurdistan has been found to have mothered the instrument.
This instrument was first used by my father, Professor Hasan Kamkar in Kurdistan in a group under the cultural and art sector, and after that in the year 1353(1974) I performed with this instrument in the Seyda Music Group. In reality from this point on we see the growth of this instrument.
After this era, the usage of Daf was exponentially growing in Iranian music, such that today we see this instrument in most traditional Iranian music, folklore and even in symphony orchestras as well as pop music. Upon looking back to when playing the was a scarce act, I am a witness to the growth of attraction amongst the young musicians of today towards this instrument, and with all my being I feel contented and overwhelmed, for it is a pity to have the sweet sound of this instrument be exclusive to the dark corners of Darvis’s of Sanandaj.
Some are to believe that Daf has had no place within our traditional past music history and others say that with the presence of the powerful instrument, Tombak, the use the Daf is pointless and its being has caused the Tombak’s presence to become less significant. However the truth is that the Daf has it’s roots based in the ancient past whereas the origins of the Tombak can not be reached any further than 400 years ago.
I hope that what has been mentioned here won’t be misunderstood as my personel opinion, myself am considered a tombak player and admirer. In fact all painting, artworks and also poetry have all shown the strong presence o the Daf and in all these works there hasn’t been any mention of the presence of the Tombak in the ancient history of music.
The absence of the Daf instrument till the past 25 years is not due to unfamiliarity caused by the history of music and the inclusiveness of musicians but from the forces of history itself.
In short, music was reclusive in this period and passed of this terrible period by mystical patience.
Kamance found its way in Lorestan’s ritualistic ceremonies, Tanbur was a companion of Kermansah’s Sufis, Naqareh, Tabl, Carna, Sorna gave color and life to mourning ceremonies, and Daf and Semsal were also the breath of the darvis-es from Kurdistan’s Xaneqahs( Sufi Houses). During these times, instruments where either forgotten or were played secretly in different areas or were passed on from a musician to the next into new generations. Daf had such an elevated position with the Darvis that when its skin would tear they believed that the Daf was then a Martyred Daf.
Once again, to write about the history of the Daf call for another apportunity. I shall suffice to this written brief in hope that in the future others will continue the search on this significant matter.
This article was taken from A Review On The History Of Daf İn Iran By Bijan Kamkar