Though virtually unknown in the U.S., 32-year-old Iranian santur master Ardavan Kamkar is the youngest member of the Kamkars, a world-renowned Kurdish ensemble. His father, Hasan Kamkar, was a composer schooled in Western classical instruments, and his eight siblings all played instruments, so Ardavan began playing the santur (a hammered dulcimer) at the age of three, joining his siblings in studying Persian folk and classical music as well as traditional Western notation. His years of study at the Tehran Music Conservatory and as a soloist with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra obviously served him well, for Kamkar's Western debut is a dazzling display of surprisingly mature virtuosity. Moving from down-tempo passages where he allows each note to hang in midair like a shimmering kite on a soft ocean breeze to dizzying melodic runs delivered at impossibly blistering speeds, Kamkar's sound lands somewhere between the haunting melodicism of George Winston's solo piano work and Bach's exuberant compositions for harpsichord. An impressive debut.
AllMusic Review by Bret Love