Santur virtuoso Puya Sarai remakes Shajarian’s “Rabbana” 

April 29, 2020 - 18:13

TEHRAN – Musician Puya Sarai has remade “Rabbana”, a recitation of an invocation performed by legendary vocalist Mohammadreza Shajarian in 1980, with santur and some electronic instruments. 

The piece can be downloaded for free on numerous websites.

“As one of the ritual songs for Ramadan, master Shajarian’s ‘Rabbana’ has been memorable for everybody over the past few decades,” Sarai said in a press release on Wednesday.

“I remade ‘Rabbana’ to denote the musical values of the piece other than its content,” he added.

“Except its ordinary function, religious and ritual music, as far as seen in West Asian cultures, has always been highly regarded as listenable music,” Sarai noted.

“There are numerous melodies from many renowned masters in religious and ritual music, which are more compelling than those pieces created by ordinary musicians,” added Sarai who has collaborated with Shajarian’s son, Homayun, in several musical projects.

“Rabbana” was inscribed on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage list in May 2017.

The recitation of the supplication, which is composed of several verses of the Holy Quran that are read before iftar, the evening meal for breaking the fast during Ramadan, was recorded at Iran’s national radio at a singing class Shajarian held for two of his students.

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) announced in 2009 that it would stop broadcasting Shajarian’s works, including “Rabbana”, following the vocalist’s protest against IRIB’s extensive use of his epic songs in programs celebrating Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory in the presidential election of that year.

Afterwards, Shajarian asked “Rabbana” to be broadcast by popular demand. However, IRIB turned a deaf ear to the demand.

IRIB produced numerous recitations of the invocation by several prominent reciters and tawashih groups, but none of them could gain popularity.

Photo: A poster for santur virtuoso Puya Sarai’s remake of “Rabbana”.