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Sahba Motallebi and Reza Mohsenipour
Persian Music and Spiritual Health

Friday - 8:00pm (ET)
August 2, 2024

University Lutheran
3637 Chestnut Street Philadelphia PA 19104
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$15 – $35

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Bowerbird along with Shabahang, Philly Iranians, and Fire Museum Presents, are pleased to present Grammy Award winner Sahba Motellabli joined by fellow countryman and Tar virtuoso Reza Mohsenipour. Sahba and Reza will illuminate us on the history behind their musical selctions which are deeply rooted in Persian culture,. Their lives and careers have been profoundly influenced by the deep history of their homeland, Iran. Through their musical selections they will demonstrate, explore and discuss how sound, frequency and vibration are important in our lives. There is healing to be found through the experience of live music when there are also shared intentions such as seeking peace, health and positive relationships.


Mesmerizing with her command of the tar, setar and shoorangiz, Sahba Motellabli captivates audiences globally with music born from centuries of Iranian tradition, interpreted through a contemporary lens, creating brand new music rooted in the past. She takes the listener on a journey of enchanted song, through a flurry of rhythmic chord hits and punctuated finger-work. Her hands dance across the strings, agile and flexible, effortless even at lightning speed. Known as “Queen of the Tar,” or “Jimi Hendrix, but on Tar,” Sahba invites us into a terrain of perfected sound with nuanced harmonics and siren-like whispers.

Born into a Baha’I family in Tehran and later relocating to Sari near the Caspian Sea, Sahba began her musical career at age 11 by learning the setar. Three years later, her talent earned her a place at the prestigious Tehran Conservatory of Music. She defied societal norms by moving to Tehran in 1992 where she lived independently and studied music despite the fact that women were not allowed to be seen carrying instruments in public. She experienced a life-altering moment when she was introduced to the tar at age 15 which led her to study with Master Fariborz Azizi and Master Ostad Hossein Alizadeh. She began practicing 8hours a day, learning the “radif,” systems of Persian music. At the Conservatory, she earned the award of Best Tar Player from 1993 – 1996. Then Sahba surpassed all expectations and won first prize for all levels, ages, and genders as the “Best Tar Player” in all of Iran for four years in a row in all festivals and competitions, from 1995 – 1998. In 1999, Sahba was invited to join the Iranian National Orchestra and began her international career. She also founded the first all-female Iranian band ever called “Chakaveh” despite the rule that women were not allowed to perform without men in Iran. At the time, women weren’t even allowed to perform with men in the main concert hall. Since then she has played concerts all over the world as a soloist and with renowned musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, Keyhan Kalhor, Rahim AlHaj, and Arturo O’Farrill.

Reza Mohsenipour is a leading Iranian musician having studied at the Tehran Conservatory and later from the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome and La Sapienza University in Rome. He performed with the Tehran Symphony and the Iranian Television Orchestra in addition to founding The Barbad musical project with his brothers Hamid and Navid Mohsenipour.


Presented in collaboration with Fire Museum Presents, Philly Iranians, and Shabahang Iranian Cultural Center of America

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