Sahba Motallebi is a modern virtuosa of the tar and setar, lute-like stringed instruments central to one of the world’s great musical traditions. She was recognized as the Best Tar Player at the Iranian Music Festival and the Tehran Conservatory of Music.
She began studying music as a young girl in the northern Iranian city of Sari. In 1993, at age fourteen, her talent garnered an invitation to study at the Tehran Conservatory, where she flourished. After graduating in 1997, she cofounded the groundbreaking women’s music ensemble, Chakaveh. In 1999, she joined the Iranian National Orchestra, beginning her career as an international performer. She left Iran in 2003 to pursue graduate studies abroad since her Bahái’í faith made this difficult within the country.
Motallebi now lives near Los Angeles and continues to perform worldwide. Since moving to the United States, she has released a series of notable books and ten recordings. As an innovator in the teaching of Persian music, she has pioneered efforts to put instructional materials on the Internet. By teaching students online, she has inspired something of a renaissance in the transmission of this ancient art form, reflecting her commitment to bringing music to the world.
Joining Motallebi on stage will be Naghmeh Farahmand, a Persian percussionist who comes from a musical family and is the daughter of one of the leading percussion masters of Iran, Mahmoud Farahmand. Naghmeh also founded Sharghi, a percussion ensemble, which performed for Iran’s national television. Naghmeh is a skillful player of the darbuka (doumbek), dayereh, cajón, and udu.
There is no rock guitarist, no oud player, possibly no musician anywhere in the world with such subtle yet fearsome chops on a fretted instrument.
—New York Music Daily