The Shah Kaman

The shah kaman is a magical instrument created by Peter Biffen ( from Australia.

He took inspiration from the traditional 4 string Persion kemenche, but added strings, making 5 playing strings and 7 sympathetic strings.

The  sympathetic strings run in a channel under the fingerboard. This design was developed in collaboration with the Iranian Master Kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor. Kalhor named the instrument Shah Kaman, which translates into English as King of Kamanchehs.

The main difference  between the kemenche and the modern violin is that instead of holding under your chin like the violin, the kemenche balances on a spike on the floor (or sometimes on one’s lap) depending on the style.  Instead of moving the bow to change strings like with the violin, the kemenche rotates on the spike and the bow stays at the same angle.

Raquy studies the kemenche with master kemenche player from Iran, Arslan Hazretti, who specializes in Iranian and Azeri styles. She mostly uses the kemenche to play her original compositions.