A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a concert by great santur musician Sina Bathaie at the Small World Music Centre. Bathaie recently toured his acclaimed album Sound of Silence and releases of singles “I Remember,” and “Journey.”
A santur skillfully played is like the sound of many instruments at once. Bathaie is both a composer and arranger. At the concert, we were treated to a solo set first, which included beautiful original compositions. For the second set, he was joined by a few friends, part of his ensemble. Our senses were treated to Bathaie’s rearrangements to include a cello, percussion, guitar, and bass. The sounds took us on a musical trip reminiscent of Pink Floyd. And for those of you familiar with the Chilean folk and progressive rock band, Los Jaivas, Bathai’s ensemble arrangements would make an impression on you, too.
Having said this, I thought you might also like to find out more about Bathaie, his musical roots, and what his future plans hold.
HM: From listening to you playing live, I venture to say that your training in classical Persian music, as well Persian percussion clearly define your take on contemporary Persian Music. Could you share a bit about your musical upbringing?
SB: I was growing up listening to persian classical music, and due the fact that my father is a well known santur player back home, I had the chance to listen and practice good music from an early age. So I explored persian repertoire with different instruments, persian percussion included, which benefited me a lot on my music vision. Gradually, I found my own interpretation from persian classical music particularly after immigration, within persian contemporary genre. But one can easily say that those years of persian classic education make the bass and foundation of my music at the moment.
HM: Who are some of the musicians, outside of Iran, that influence your own compositions?
SB:I believe for artists, especially a composer, the most important thing is the source of inspiration and the inputs one get, This can be many things like a book, an interaction with an individual or … , but most importantly the music you listen to plays an important role on the composition, and the mood of the moment. I am very open to listen to any genre of music, and like the idea to explore new music a lot of time brings some ideas leads in a creation. Some of the artist I enjoyed their musics are: Nils Frahm, Boby Mcferrin, Sophie Zelmani, Yann Tiersen and others.
HM: On your last tour, you played with other musicians. How do you work on the new arrangements of your music; are you all involved in the process?
SB:When the core melody of a piece is composed and ready, I will arrange it for other instruments like bass, cello and guitar. The basic melody could be composed on santur or be a result of an imrovisation or a jam session with friends. I will record the ideas and work on them later on to give a color to the melody.
HM: Lastly, where can we find you next in Toronto?
SB:I am currently producing some showcases and concert, and we will announce the show times soon on my website at sinabathaie.com.
If you like what you hear, be sure to follow Bathaie on his websitee, and social media as well. You can also listen to, and purchase, his solo album Sound of Silence, now available on iTunes.