The Faran Ensemble was formed in 2009 by three musicians sharing similar musical vibes and values, who decided to embark together on a spiritual quest. Their journey, expressed in music and sound, reflects the beauty of nature, travelling through different sceneries, from the clean and quiet desert to luscious green hills, sometimes even passing through the hectic noise of the city.
Their instruments belong to the ancient traditions of the east, allowing the musicians to combine mystical sounds with modern influences. In their music, Mediterranean landscapes weave an enchanted soundscape, a magic carpet to take the listener on a voyage to faraway lands.
The ensemble’s name, Faran, refers to Wadi Faran, a dry desert riverbed which in winter fills with water and life and in summer is silent and pristine. The Faran crosses three countries, but ignores all artificial human borders.
The Faran Ensemble recorded its first studio album, simply named Faran, in 2012. The independently produced album comprises of seven compositions, four of them featuring guest musicians. The album, which is available for sale, was reviewed in the September 2014 issue of Songlines Magazine, published in the UK. In 2014, the Faran Ensemble participated in the International Jewish Music Festival of Amsterdam contest. Where it won the grand prize, in addition to additional prizes for best composition and best Israeli talent. The ensemble also participated in the Jewish Culture Festival of Karkow, the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival, the International Showcase for Jazz and World Music Festival in Tel Aviv, the Yearot Menashe Festival and more.
ABOUT THE INSTRUMENTS
The kamancheh is an ancient Persian string bowed instrument, also used in Turkish, Azeri, Armenian and other musical traditions. It is related to the rebab and to the Byzantine lyra, from which the modern European violin derives. The instrument is played with a variable-tension bow, and its name is derived from the Persian word for little bow – “kaman-cheh.”
Modern instruments have 4 strings (sometimes 5) and a wooden resonating chamber covered with a fish skin membrane. The kamancheh is played upright, and often stirs a very wide range of emotions, longings to faraway lands never seen…
Rhythm is as eternal as a heartbeat and at least as ancient as mankind. The percussion instruments in the Faran Ensemble include the daf – a large Persian frame drum, made of hardwood with a goatskin membrane, with metal ringlets adding to its tone, the udu – a clay water jug, with a hole to allow production of a bass sound, used by women in ceremonies in some African cultures – and various other percussion instruments such as cymbals, tambourine and bells. The different membranes, jugs and drums, all beat together with our hearts, as our soul sings to the rhythm.
The oud is one of the world’s most ancient musical instruments, mentioned in writings as old as the 3rd century BC. It is a pear-shaped plucked string instrument, commonly used in Arabic, Turkish, Jewish and other musical traditions. As Islam spread to Europe, so did the oud, where it was called it ‘la oud’ – which in time evolved into the lute, and later on the guitar.
Oud in Arabic means “wood,” and the instrument is made completely of wood. Its sound, too, deep and dry, sends deep roots, from which ancient dreams and modern sentiments can grow.