April 24, 2006

One of the highlights of this trip, we are sure. The most incredible meal and fantastic music. We are so grateful to our hosts for conceiving of this experience for us. All the main speakers and wives were invited as guests.

The atmosphere was gracious rich and musical in this fantastic place. We were told that the building is a 200 year old home, and it has served as a teahouse for 50 years. The building was restored in 1993 to preserve the historical beauty. There are about 50 "teahouses in Tehran, this one surely one of the best.

We will save the details of the delicious dinner (one of the bet meals we have ever had anywhere) for later, and first show the musicians who were the center of attention and created a powerful lyrical tone for the entire time. They took short breaks, but mostly played the entire time we were there...several hours. The really great percussionist did a long solo on the DAF, the percussion instrument pictured here. He bounced it lightly in the air while playing it in many intricate ways. The daf is a type of frame drum that is depicted in many Persian miniatures and has reliefs from centuries ago. It has a goat skin head, and is equipped with metal rings on the inside which add a jingle effect to the sound. There was amplification to a level apppropriate for the space.

He also played this drum, on different parts of the head and the body as well.

This singer-percussionist introduced the others...with a different drum. He rang the bell above ghim as part of his pieces, as if punctuating and calling attention to the music beginning.

On the left listening, Ank, the wife of Willem Hammers from the Netherlands, at one of our tables.

Fine singers, the songs were mostly about love, we were told. The haunting melodies of the songs were sung in Persian.

On the right our host, Reza Khosrovsahi and his wife, enjoying the delight of his guests. He loves music, we know that from our last visit.

A little blurry, but you can see there were both men and women eating and listening here. The women dress more colorfully than three years ago. They are friendly, beautiful and independant, in spite of the public dress code. Their dress inside the private homes is different.

Notice the waterpipes on the tables. The "flavors" were apple or mint.

Our friend Qing Xiang, tries. Tea is being served, and was served plentifully at the beginning and end of the meal, ones glass constantly replaced. It was delicious and invigorating.

Thank you Reza, and the conference sponsors and organizers... what an experience! We traveled on an IPM bus through the crowded night street atmosphere of Tehran, about a 45 minute ride from our guest house...shorter on the way home, because the traffic was lighter. Next we'll tell you about the meal!

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