Regional Music of Persia 28 (Music of Talesh Rice Farms)

Recording & accompanying notes: Armin Faridi-Haftkhani
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CD Number [292]

Published [11/07/2010]

Recording & accompanying notes:
Armin Faridi-Haftkhani


The pieces performed in this album:

1. Prayer at the beginning of work (Asalem)
"O God! Allah, Mohammad, Ya Ali, let's set out to work! And let the wind do it! At Sharaf Shah's will, the rice paddies, row by row, will become bountiful
and develop."
"Sharaf Shah" most probably refers to the renown Sufi of the seventh century named Sharaf Shah Talesh-Dulabi whose shrine is still a place for the local
people to pray. Following this prayer, they address the paddy in a challenging tone and say: "O my farmland! Take close care of yourself, the brave women are on the way", and then they begin working.

2. Ya Mohammad, ya Ali (recorded at a paddy, Rezvanshahr)
Z. Abedi, and chorus
This track is recorded live at a paddy field in Ardajan-e Paresar, Rezvan-shahr. Actually, this is the first vocal piece sung at the rice paddies at the beginning of the work. While singing, they name some of their prominent religious figures in the past to ask them to protect their fields. Although the melody of this piece is the same as two other tracks )e.g. 15(, the lyrics are totally different. Meanwhile it is notable that due to mentioning the names of holy people such as the Shiite Imams and the Prophet, loud cries in the midst of singing are avoided.

3, 4, 5. Gilava, Aqa boylim & Ya Laylem (Separdi, Lankaran)
Golbaji Mamadova, Aqbaji Karimova, Khanbibi Azimova, Qazus Ahadova, Golchehre Mamadova
Lankaran is located in the north of Talesh. In this region, the way they sing their songs is at variance with the Southern regions. In the Southern and central regions of Talesh, there is a person as the head, and others are on backing vocals. But in Lankaran, they take turns in singing the lines.

6, 7. Leka lom barsh & Masta Layli (Na, Asalem)
When the work on the paddy fields is finished, the time is ripe for the farmers to conduct a wedding ceremony. Some of the motifs of bejara dastuns are about these weddings. The most prominent attribute of the first piece is that its cadence )forud( and other features correspond to the vocal piece Asalamje Hava which are closely related to those of central regions of Talesh. They sing the second piece when the sun is about to set.

8. Jan dede jan (Matash, Asalem)
H. Jahangard, S. Jahangard, and chorus
The women of Talesh mention the word "mother" repeatedly in the reftain "jan dede jan" (dear mother, dear). They believe that it would give them power and strength. In some regions, the presence of mother at the fields is thought to be the source of abundance.

9. Aman ha Layle (Na, Asalem)
The theme of the poem encourages moving to the mountains. In fact, the enthusiasm for moving to summer-quarter somehow reduces the toughness and difficulty of the work.

10, 11, 12. Shabnamam virma nana, Amana Layle Layle jan & Ama yandina khashimun (Matash, Asalem)
H. Jahangard, S. Jahangard, and chorus
The first piece is the same as "Masta Layli" which is performed quite differently with respect to both form and melody. The second one depicts the paddy field and the way the relatives work on it. And finally the third one is sung when the work is over.

13. Aman aman (Rudkenar, Paresar)
Sh. Abbasi, S. Abbasi
The lyrics is about the beloved and describe her as a flower.

14. Hay omare (recorded at a paddy, Rezvanshahr)
Z. Abedi, and chorus
First, the lead singer welcomes all the workers and people at the field. Then she mentions the names of all the family members of the landowner. Meanwhile everyone repeats the welcoming refrain. Such coincidence between planting and naming people may denote that what they are doing is in honor of the people already present there.
As you may hear on this track, performing "hay omare" is accompanied by great zest and eagerness. These cries which serve to let out emotions are called
"kahkara" and "huhu".

15. Taleshi song & Damaviyar nazanin (recorded at a paddy, Rezvanshahr)
Z. Abedi, and chorus
This is considered to be a tradition to sing vocal pieces of Talesh in between those of Shalizar. It is sung by the lead singer while women are on the backing vocals singing "khale".

16. Kuku bar sar-e dare (Chamushduzan, Shanderman)
S. Hamidi
"Kuku" is the name of a legendary bird in the culture of the Taleshis. This bird lays her only egg on the nest of another bird. So the baby is born as a stranger on the nest, and this newly born bird has no brother or mother. Legend has it that this bird symbolizes a number of things but most significant of them is the solitude or self-exile. This concept is a recurrent theme in the poems of bejara karasaz.

17, 18. Shaw daruma & Amanem Layle yar (Jirdeh, Fuman)
A. Salim-Emami, and others
These two pieces are frequent in the Southern Talesh. The first is sung when the sun sets and the work is over, and the second one is another form of track 11.

19. Layle ra mikham (Kheshtavun, Fuman)
The refrain of this piece is in Persian. It is noteworthy that in the Southern regions of Talesh which is in close proximity to the culture of Gilan, you may encounter Persian or Gilaki words and expressions in the refrains. On the other hand, in the Northern regions of Talesh, where people speak Turkish besides Taleshi, there exist lots of Turkish words in the poems and refrains indeed.

20. Man hajiyam, (Jirdeh, Fuman)
A. Salim-Emami, and others
This is a frequent form in the Southern Talesh. Tracks like this may be thought to be performed in the wedding ceremonies due to their fast rhythm, but as what the performers have narrated and according to extensive field research it came out that these typical pieces are performed both in weddings and at the paddy fields. Moreover, it should be noted that these songs have served to be the source of many of those performed in the weddings, maybe because singing the songs that promise happy days of their children's marriage makes the work on the fields bearable.

21, 22. Amana Layle kare & Pacha Layle (Furvash, Fuman)
A. Salim-Emami, and others
These two pieces are also requent in the Southern Talesh, and the first is sung at the beginning of the work.

23. Kara bashimuna nana (recorded at a paddy, Rezvanshahr)
Z. Abedi, and chorus
This track is considered to be the last vocal piece sung at the field as they sing it when they are leaving the field. What is particularly notable in this piece is that its poem marries the leaving of the field with the concept of death which is itself a departure from this world. The latter theme is also frequent in the lyrics of this kind. Thus it can be considered as an allegory in which completing the work and its happiness represent the end of life.

24. Prayer at the end of Work
At the end of the work, they say such things: "O God! We are leaving for the mountains! Make our paddy fields bountiful! O bajar! Do fertilize our rice crop! Destroy the weeds! Go to the sea and thus return full of water! Grow our crops in a way that fully fills our plates and dishes and breaks our wooden spoons while eating!"

Armin Faridi-Haftkhani