Sonic Spaces: Salakh Ceremony
On another warm, humid day, I was resting in a corner in one of the narrow alleys of Salakh village on Qeshm Island when the first boom of a drum, loud and beckoning, made me jump to my feet. As has become a habit of mine over the years, I followed the sound. Like a hunter, I drew my phone from my pocket, ready in camera mode, and started capturing the minute I saw the first trace of the ceremony about to begin. The rest was filmed for all to watch.
The stories I document usually start with an instinctive decision to reach for my phone, and the initial encounter flows from there into the event. The communication of my smiling eyes usually gains me admission, and a few words in southern dialect are enough to confirm this. I immerse myself as a member of the ceremony, where the small device, silence, and verbal eyes do all the work of gradually and smoothly getting me closer, until I find myself right in the middle of the happening, as if I’m invisible. I enjoy this deep, wordless communication between us, becoming filled with joy when I am accepted and can no longer see any trace of the camera in their eyes. It’s like a dance, as if I am also improvising with the band. They start the downbeat, and so do I, and as the beat gets faster, so do my movements.
The music of Hormozgan is a reflection of the people’s spirit and their deep connection to the land and sea. The rhythm comes from the tide, with the same uneven distance between each beat. It’s called the “Lang Rhythm.” The more you observe nature and immerse yourself in it — swimming in the ocean, breathing the humid air, and walking on the soft sands beneath the burning sun of the south — the more you understand the music, and the more you flow with the sound.
Hormozgan Province, located in the southern region of Iran, boasts a rich and vibrant music scene that reflects the province’s unique cultural identity. The sounds of traditional instruments such as the dohol, kaser, and pipeh fill the air during local ceremonies and celebrations, as well as in everyday life. The harmonious blend of Persian, Arabic, Indian, African, and Portuguese influences in the region’s music is a testament to the province’s diverse history and cultural heritage. The music of Hormozgan is a constant reminder of the enduring traditions and rich cultural tapestry of this enchanting corner of Iran.