Iran, Men, News

The enlightened Bards of Khorasan

in memory of Osman Mohammad Parast, legendary Iranian Dotar Player

Dotar playing in Khorasan is not just about playing an instrument. But dotar players also sing the oral literature of Iranian culture in the form of poems. And this tradition influences the whole region of Khorasan despite being Turk, Kurd, Turkmen, Persian, or Mazani.

Most experts say that the dotar instrument first came from southern Khorasan ( Khaaf, Taibaad, and Torbat-e-jaam) and then went further north to Shervan, Ghoochan, and Turkmen Sahra and Mazandaran, and their people called dotar players as Bakhshi (or Baqshi in turkmeni).  Khorasan bakhshi music is also recognized on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

About the origins of dotar playing, some experts say it is from shamanism of nomadic tribes, some others say it originates from ancient mystical poet musician kings, Kavi’s (kay کی in Persian), or some others say it originates from lost Buddhist traditions or maybe singing tradition of Zoroastrian magi’s.

it doesn’t matter what is dotar players or Bakhshi’s origin, the point is that Bakhshi’s are the spine of oral tradition in the region and they transfer folklore and national myths, literature, and stories generation by generation, From father to son or from master to his apprentice.

They are not just a simple musician, but there is a belief that a Dotar player should be a mystic and a realized person who knows the god and is a pure being. And because of this people seek their knowledge through the poems and the stories they tell and in favor, it’s an honor for people to pay anything to the Bakhshi and respect him. 

Dotar players also are very dedicated to the traditions of their region, from any ethnicity which they are; they are dedicated to its traditions. That’s why they mostly wear the headgear of their region. Bakhshies of Khorasan wear their special dastars and Turkmen baqshies wear their Turkmen hat called Telpek.

Osman Mohammad Parast was one of the great dotar players of Khorasan. he was one of the first dotar players who bring dotar out of local folklore music and interduce it to the whole country and the world. beside dotar playing he was a driver to earn a living for himself and his family. we lost him on 19th May 2022. We pay tribute to his memory.  

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