Welcome to Sahba Motallebi

Mesmerizing with her command of the tar, setar and shoorangiz, Sahba Motellabli captivates audiences globally with music born from centuries of Iranian tradition, interpreted through a contemporary lens, creating brand new music rooted in the past. She takes the listener on a journey of enchanted song, through a flurry of rhythmic chord hits and punctuated finger-work. Her hands dance across the strings, agile and flexible, effortless even at lightning speed. Known as "Queen of the Tar," or "Jimi Hendrix, but on Tar," Sahba invites us into a terrain of perfected sound with nuanced harmonics and siren-like whispers.

Born into a Baha’I family in Tehran and later relocating to Sari near the Caspian Sea, Sahba began her musical career at age 11 by learning the setar. Three years later, her talent earned her a place at the prestigious Tehran Conservatory of Music. She defied societal norms by moving to Tehran in 1992 where she lived independently and studied music despite the fact that women were not allowed to be seen carrying instruments in public. She experienced a life-altering moment when she was introduced to the tar at age 15 which led her to study with Master Fariborz Azizi and Master Ostad Hossein Alizadeh. She began practicing 8 hours a day, learning the "radif," systems of Persian music. At the Conservatory, she earned the award of Best Tar Player from 1993 – 1996. Then Sahba surpassed all expectations and won first prize for all levels, ages, and genders as the "Best Tar Player" in all of Iran for four years in a row in all festivals and competitions, from 1995 - 1998. In 1999, Sahba was invited to join the Iranian National Orchestra and began her international career. She also founded the first all-female Iranian band ever called "Chakaveh" despite the rule that women were not allowed to perform without men in Iran. At the time, women weren’t even allowed to perform with men in the main concert hall. Since then she has played concerts all over the world as a soloist and with renowned musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, Keyhan Kalhor, Rahim AlHaj, and Arturo O’Farrill.

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"There is no rock guitarist, no Oud player, possibly no musician anywhere in the world,with such subtle yet fearsome chops on the fretted instrument."
   - New York Music Daily



Live Performances
October 03, 2020 02:00 PM
Dondero Cultural Center - Las Vegas, Nevada
Sahba performs with Percussionist Pezhham Akhavass at the Winchester Dondero Cultural Center, 3130 S. McLeod Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada

All Dates

  • October 03, 2020 02:00 PM

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