Iranian composer Aftab Darvishi has released the first single from her debut album A Thousand Butterflies. 

Sahar (Sun) is named after a melody from the Kermanshah region that is usually played at dawn on a Sorna (a Persian wind instrument) to wake people from their slumber. 

The piece is composed for solo cello using traditional Persian playing techniques performed by cellist Mahyar Tahmasbi. 

’I believe that music and culture travel with time and place. Sahar is no exception,’ Darvishi explains. ’In this work, I have looked at the ancient melody with a more personal perspective and given it a contemporary sound. To shoot the video, we travelled at dawn to the most untouched regions of my native Iran, crossing mountains, deserts and plains to capture the story of this melody in images.’ 

Born in Tehran, Iran in 1987, Darvishi began her music education on the violin aged five before learning the Kamancheh (an Iranian string instrument) and piano. Darvishi graduated from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in 2015 and since then has composed works for various outlets including concert music, film music and theatre.

Darvishi’s composition style focuses on creating unusual combinations of melodic lines and mixing different musical cultures calling it ’the inspiration’ for her musical journey.  In 2017, she was commissioned by San Francisco’s Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet to write a piece for Fifty for the FutureThe Kronos Learning Repertoire. A project devoted to the most contemporary approaches to the string quartet, designed expressly for the training of students and emerging professionals.

Her debut album, A Thousand Butterflies looks back on Darvishi’s 11-year journey as a composer. ’A Thousand Butterflies evokes a life that has crossed continents. It spans a range of styles and includes work for a variety of instrumental forces as well as electronic,’ Darvishi writes on her website. 

A Thousand Butterflies is released on 22 July on the Hamburg-based label 30M Records.