Drums United, Worldwide Drummer Keypals

Iranian Female Drummer reports

Hey music lovers, do you follow my series Worldwide Drummer Keypals? As everything on here, it’s new. Up next is Sahar Shateri. Read on and find out about the life of this Iranian female drummer.

Keypal no. 2 || e-mail no. 1

Munich – March 16, 2016

Dear Sahar,
Alireza Tabatabaei gave me your contact, because I was looking for an Iranian female drummer, who would be able to answer all of my curious questions. Through Instagram I am already getting a vague impression of who you might be. But this is much better – how fantastic that I get the chance to exchange e-mails with you. Thank you!
From Alireza I know that young people in Iran are very educated and into social media. However, I think you do not have unlimited access to the internet, do you? How do you communicate with your friends?
When I interviewed percussionist Hakim Ludin two years ago, he told me about his trips to Tehran, the incredible drummer community and his clinics there. One of the first things I wanted to know was: What about women, are they allowed to play as well? His reply: „Yes, of course!”
The picture I have from countries within the Arab world including Iran as far as women are concerned, is a rather dark, sad one. Many laws and restrictions prevent women from leading an emancipated, self-determined and free life. Correct? Things which are taken for granted over here, like driving a car, riding a bike, dressing as one likes, having no sex if one doesn’t like to, one’s voice or statement in court having the same ponderosity as men’s, are legally not possible in your country. Women are regarded as inferior. Therefore I was very happy to find out that there are female drummers in Iran. Wonderful!
Now, what’s your story, Sahar? How did you get into drums? When did you start to play? How old were you? What was your parents’ reaction when you picked up such a manly instrument? How did your girlfriends react? Do you have your own set of drums? What kind of music do you listen to? Do you play along to songs?
I’ve got so many more questions, but I should leave it at that for today. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes from Germany,

And the reply from Tehran ...

Tehran – March 29, 2016
Dear Cat
First and most important is I have to say a big apology for my delay. As I already told you, we are in our New Year Eve (Norouz) holidays. So everyone is spending more time with their family.
But here I am, so happy, to have this opportunity to exchange some e-mails with you and let you know some things about who I am and what I am doing. And I owe Mr. Alireza Tabatabaei and you a very very very BIG “Thank YOU” for this opportunity.
Sahar Shateri, Alireza Tabatabei and students of Arian Drum School
Sahar Shateri, Alireza Tabatabei and students of Arian Drum School
As Mr. Tabatabaei said, we have so many educated, talented young people in Iran. And as you know internet and social media are playing a very big role in learning and communicating all around the world. And it goes the same in here, so we do search, we try to communicate with each other and we try to learn more and more, besides of having so many good teachers in here.
But about the access you asked, we may have very slow internet speed compared to so many other countries and it may make it a little harder to use technology for learning. But, looking at the bright side, it’s getting better and better everyday, and we can use social medias, messaging applications and social apps to communicate with our friends and other people around the world – exchange our ideas, and acknowledges with each other. 
Yes, we were so lucky to have Mr. Hakim Ludin with us here in Tehran two years ago, and we are much more lucky that we will have him with us once more in June 2016 again. Besides we had some other great drummers from other countries here with us and very very great workshops. I myself am sure that I learned so many things from them. Great drummers like Jost Nickel, Andy Rohde, Claus Hessler, and …
Ok, coming back to our subject. Of course we have very good female percussionists and drummers in Iran. Although in comparison to male drummers and percussionists we are a few actually. As far as I know besides me, we have 4 or 5 professional female drummers who are playing in a band in Iran. But as well I see teenage girls everyday that are getting interested to learning and playing drums and fortunately they do start learning! So it means we are going to have more professional female drummers in the future!
Now, what I want to do is change the WHOLE picture you have from my country in your mind! :)First of all, we may have many Arab countries around Iran, but we are not included in them. We are PERSIAN and I always proudly say that loud. ☺ Each and every country has its own law and the people who live in that country must respect them. The picture you have in your mind, which unfortunately many people in Europe and other places have that too, is completely different from what we really have in here. And I think you can see it even in my photos. Iran is an Islamic country, but that doesn’t make it a sad, dark one! I am living in country with a deep, rich culture. The country that always had art, poem, music and beauty in it. Women and men do have almost same rights. I can drive, I can vote, I can ride a bike, I can be a musician, and many many other things. So do not think that we are living in a dark place. And I hope someday you come over and see the beauty of my country. And I am so proud of myself to be a female drummer here in Iran, and I try my best to better and better everyday.
ooooookkkk… here’s my favorite part LOL! I grew up in family with a history full of music. My parents each used to play an instrument. So as one of grandfathers who passed away many years ago. So I’ve started learning music and playing keyboard and piano since I was maybe 4 or 5. Then when I was 8 my parent sent me to Amir Kabir cultural center to start learning musical education.
I remember when I was a kid, I used to watch Yanni’s concert at Acropolis almost everyday with my father, and the first musician I got my attention to, was the drummer! I’ve always loved drums as I remember. My father used to play Tonbak! which is a traditional Iranian instrument, and I was always trying to play with it when I was a little girl. When I was 10 my family decided to move from Tehran to North of Iran, so I couldn’t go to Amir Kabir anymore. I practiced keyboard and piano myself for some years until I did move back to Tehran for my college.
That was when I found the opportunity to start learning drums with my first dear teacher Mr. AmirAli Taheri. So I started playing drums 8 years ago, when I was 22. And now Mr. Alireza Tabatabei is helping me a lot and he is encouraging me to practice everyday. And if I am “Sahar Shateri, a female drummer in Iran, who’s playing with different bands, and getting better everyday” is because of him.
Iranian female drummer Sahar Shateri in a workshop with Jost Nickel
Sahar Shateri in a workshop with Jost Nickel
Well, as I said I grew up in a family that always loved music, so when I picked drums which I always loved to play, they encouraged me to do it, and follow it, and learn more and more. And they are still encouraging me each and everyday, and I am so lucky to have them as my parents. And about my friends, actually the same story happened and it is still happening for almost everyone when they hear that I’m playing drums! haha. This is what happens when they hear it: “DRUMS!??? Really??? you’re playing drums! WOW!! A drummer girl! why drums?? that’s COOLLLL!!
At this time, because I’m living in an apartment, I can’t have an acoustic drum set, but I do have a V-drum, so I can practice at home. But so soon I’ll get an acoustic set for concerts. I have my most practices at Arian Drum School, which I am already working in there with Mr. Alireza Tabatabaei.
Well, I try to play all kind of music, except for that black metal part! LOL. But my favorite ones are rock, country, fusion, R&B, and pop. I do play along with songs. Because I think it helps to improve skills in playing and it’s so much fun.
WOW! I wrote a lot!!! Unfortunately I won’t be able to come over to Musikmesse this year. But fingers crossed I’ll make it for the next one.
It is so good to know you Cat. And I’m looking forward to hear much more from you, and hopefully see you someday.
All the Best from Iran

To be continued ...

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