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Interview with the creators of the "Arctide Descendants" project

Since 2009, the internationally renowned musical university Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky’s Conservatory has been developing an original project "Arctide Descendants". This project involves several countries in Europe and Asia and is noted for the participation of distinguished musicians from multiple countries. As a part of this project, Tokyo will enjoy two concerts that will be performed on April 24th and April 26th. The creators of the "Arctide Descendants" project, the Iranian singer Hosein Nourshargh, and the Moscow Conservatory professor Margarita Karatygina, will present the program of Iranian classical music “Sarzamin-e Man” (“My Motherland”).

Reporter’s question: First of all, please tell us about the program and the performers.

M.K. – In April, the Japanese audience will meet one of the most ancient and greatest of world's cultures – the inspired Iranian classical music, amazing in its beauty and life-affirming energy.

H.N. – Describing music is as difficult, and, perhaps, as useless, as describing a taste or a smell. I believe that the Japanese, who have created their artistically sophisticated and philosophically profound music, hogaku, would sense during the concert that we are performing equally “sublime” music with its complex rules, multidimensional meanings, and profundity of feelings and sincerity.

Reporter’s question: Can you please explain what the title of your project means? What is Arctida?

M.K. – Arctida is a beautiful metaphor, the name of a hypothetical country that existed in the northern latitudes of Eurasia, above the Arctic Circle. It is the presumable ancient homeland of all Indo-European peoples, who later during several millennia were moving to the south and to the east, and they created several centers of ancient culture in the territories of contemporary Europe, Russia, Iran, and India. The waves of these migrations reached Japan as well. Evidences of unity of these cultures are scattered among numerous archeological findings; they glimmer in the languages of European and Asian people; they can be heard in music very well.

H.N. – It seemed to me that it would be interesting to find an explanation for the audible similarities in sounds that appear in Iranian, Indian, and even Japanese music. This is why I was involved in this project from the very beginning. We already discussed these ideas with Iranian and Russian musicians; with this thought, we performed in Minsk. Moreover, we visited India specifically for this purpose, and there we worked on this issue with distinguished Indian musicians: Hariprasad Chaurasia, L. Subramaniam, Devki Pandit Nambiar, and others.

Reporter’s question: What can you tell us about the actual music that will be performed during the April concerts? How comprehensible, or, conversely, how difficult can it be for a listener from another culture, who does not speak Persian and is not acquainted with the rules of Iranian classical music?

M.K. – In my opinion, it is quite obvious that music truly is the divine essence, which is capable of reaching the core of the human heart directly, bypassing all barriers of mind, logic, and rationality, and, once it reaches the heart, it stirs the experience and the memory of the unified panhuman spirit. Quoting Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a prominent American philosopher of Iranian origin, “the spirit always retains a memory of its original home, of its homeland, and all human efforts to achieve perfection, even efforts limited by the material world, have roots in this memory. In this other world, the human spirit was an eternal listener of, and a participant in the never-ending concert whose beauty and harmony sustained the spirit. Listening to traditional music, the spirit, who lives in the dungeon of body, remembers the world which it inhabited originally all over again”.

H.N. – all that we want to tell contains not only Iranian, but panhuman values. Every human being has one’s own home, one’s own dignity, one’s own understanding of Love, Freedom, Honor. This is what our songs are about. Besides, to assist our listeners, we prepared translations of some poetic texts.

Thank you very much for the interesting interview!

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