4)  Chemirani Family.

I was in Paris in the mid ’80s for a show with Dead Can Dance and after the soundcheck we were taken for a meal in a local Armenian restaurant. Sat in the corner was a hammered dulcimer player whose playing was wonderful, so Lisa [Gerrard] invited him to our show. When he came backstage afterwards, even though we had received a rapturous response from the audience, he was clearly underwhelmed. He was perfectly polite and not in any way derogatory, but set about demonstrating his classical Arabic musicianship. He picked up a hardback book and started showing me a range of Arabic rhythms. I was completely lost when I tried to follow what he was doing, but was utterly fascinated. He recommended a Persian family to me for further listening and wrote down on a scrap of paper the name ‘Chemirani’. I kept that scrap of paper for years afterwards and one day, purely by chance, I saw an advertisement for the Chemirani family performing in a church in the City of London music festival – a free concert on a weekday lunchtime. I went along and there must have been only about 30 people in the audience and it was absolutely beautiful – the father (Djamchid) and two sons (Keyvan and Bijan) playing dumbek (or zaab) drums and the daughter (Maryam – I hope I’ve identified them all correctly!) singing and playing bells and frame drum. I have since managed to collect a few of their recordings, but nothing comes close to that live experience – a veritable highlight of my life in most unlikely circumstances!

 
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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.

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