The Nishtiman Group is comprised of musicians from all four parts of Kurdistan who blend various styles, languages, melodies, and instruments into their work. Photo: Nishtiman Group | Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Nishtiman accomplishes the adventure of uniting musicians of different nationalities around the music, the language, and the culture of the Kurdish people. A pioneering and brave musical adventure, while politic laws and habits set by history, and the routine of cultural trails have always separated the Kurds, including on festival stages and in music stores.
"The Nishtiman project, which is sponsored by Rudaw Media Network, is the art from the different parts of our homeland. It links Kurdistan together and through music festivals and introduces our nation to the outside world," Ako Mohammad, the CEO of Rudaw, explained on Wednesday.
Nishtiman, meaning Homeland, aims to combine and present the music of Kurds in all four parts: Turkey (Bashur), Iraq (Bashur), Iran (Rojhelat), and Syria (Rojava).
"In this package we present to you the melodies of our homeland. Our homeland is not yet on the world map, but it exists in a more important place which is our art and hears, Hussein Zahawy, the artistic director of Nishtiman Group, told Rudaw.
The three founding members are Hussein Zahawy, Sohrab Pournazeri, and Ertan Tekin.
In the beginning percussionist Hussein Zahawy commissions the composition of an original repertoire to Sohrab Pournazeri, a singer as well as a tanbur and kamanche player. With them is Ertan Tekin, a scholar of double-reed oboes. Zahawy lives in England, Pournazeri in Iran, and Teki in Turkey.
"Geography and history has divided the Kurdish people, but it is also a large people with many and various tastes and fondness," Pournazeri told Rudaw.
For this project, the three founding members have collaborated with singer Donya Kamali, African percussions specialist Robin Vassy and santur player Mahyar Toreihi.
The project includes three discs:
Album 1: 'Kurdistan'
1. Danghek la Zagross (Voices from Zagros): Zagros are the mountains which connect and protect Kurdistan
2. Nishtiman (Homeland): Originally from Turkish Kurdistan and in Kurmanji
3. Yar Yar (My Beloved): A melody from Iranian Kurdistan in Kalhori
4. Ajwiju: A mixed of melodies based on folk music from Kalhori, Sorani, and Kurmanji
5. Sahari (Divine First Light): Is music from a tambur, a sacred instrument for the Ahleh Haq dervishes (Sufi brotherhood) who live in Iranian Kurdistan
6. Ghasm (Entreaty): The melody is from the town of Kermanshah and sung in Kalhori dialectic
7. Paro: Introduction to the next track
8. Deli Berindar (The Wounded Heart): A style of singing found in Rojhelat and Bashur sung in Sorani
9. Joog (Jam): The melding of Kurdish and African percussion
10. Lawek (Far Cry): Solo on the oud with Goran Kamil
Album 2: 'Kobane'
1. Kobane: Melody of a girl whose city has been destroyed preserving the Zoroastrian fire
2. Aman Aman (Rescue): Love song about distance from afar
3. Shirin (Sweet Love): A monologue of a person asking his love to not leave him
4. Howler: Describes the beauty of a daughter and nature with contemporary music from Kurdish regions of Iraq and Turkey
5. Ghanj Khalil (Epic Love): Unmeasured chants of a love song from Turkish Kurdistan
6. Khor Halat (Sunrise): An ancient maqam for the tanbur played at the break of dawn
7. Kobane (radio edit)
8. Howler (radio edit)
9. Kohbod (Workshop in the Mountain): Inspired by the Yarsanism religion and the devotion to the mountains; told through a tanbur
Disc 3: Improvisations (a 10-song track)
Here are some samples: