Ostad Latif Tahmasebi-zadeh

Ostad Latif Tahmasebi-zadeh on the ghaval

Maestro Latif Tahmasebi-zadeh the Great Master of the Ghaval

During the time that I was a ghaval student of Latif, I interviewed him to write a short biography of him.

A recognized master of ghaval (Azerbaijani frame drum), Ostad Latif Tahmasebi-zadeh, was born in Ardabil, Azerbaijani area of Iran, in 1944.

His father, Majid Tahmasebi-zadeh moved to Baku (the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan) to find a suitable job. After moving to Baku, he learned garman (an Azerbaijani organ similar to a European accordion). Latif became interested in the ghaval and started learning it at the age of fourteen. He initially learned the ghaval by observing the ghaval players and visually studying their techniques during their performances in the wedding ceremonies (in Azerbaijani "toylar"). After learning the ghaval, he started playing the ghaval in wedding ceremonies and gradually became a well-known musician among the Azerbaijani communities of Tehran.

Later, the great masters of his time such as Ostad Ali Salimi (famous composer and Azerbaijani tar player), Ostad Safar Ali Javid (Azerbaijani tar player), Ostad Seifi Ebrahimpour (Azerbaijani tar player), and Ostad Esmail Cheshmazar (Azerbaijani kamancheh player) invited him for artistic collaborations. He performed with them for more than 30 years. Latif also performed on the National Iranian Radio and Television.

He developed unique techniques and finger patterns in the ghaval performance. He has been regarded as a preeminent the ghaval soloist both in Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The ghaval was traditionally played by singers as an accompanying instrument. Ostad Latif Tahmasebi-zadeh gave an independent solo character to this frame drum also. He was one of the rare ghaval players who performed exciting ghaval solo performances in his concerts.

Great masters of Azerbaijani art music praised his new style in the ghaval. May he always be brought happily to mind!