top of page

Night of Lilac

in the Remoteness of Language


Persian Classical Music, Solo Setar

Nima Janmohammadi



  1. Čahārgāh - Segāh

  2. Bayāt-e Tork - Dašti



Recorded, mixed, and mastered by John Weston, Futura Productions

Spring and summer of 2023, Boston, Massachusetts.


Cover photo by Mohsen Emadi

Played with Setar made by Ramin Jazayeri



The name of this album is inspired by a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, "Your Night is of Lilac" from The Butterfly’s Burden. Copyright © 2008 by Mahmoud Darwish, English translation by Fady Joudah.

Available for purchase at:

Persian classical music is an aural tradition, with a significant emphasis on improvising and playing from memory. Both tracks of this album are played and recorded from beginning to end, without pausing or editing. Prior to the recording, I reviewed systems and methods of procedure, including a constant process of fixing and polishing pre-composed and pre-improvised materials: formal, melodic, and rhythmic ideas that are being used as “points of departure.” These materials are conjured up through a close connection with the repertoire, memory, and the aura of the time and space at the time of recording. I am interested in that infinite moment, that experience of timelessness, when the border of playing between consciousness and unconsciousness is blurred, as well as the border between improvisation and composition. 

I am fascinated by Bernini’s statue, “Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.” In every single sound I play, I seek that erotic, and physical experience of Saint Teresa's rapture, made visible by the sensitivity and mastery of Bernini. In Julia Kristeva’s book “Teresa, My Love: The Imagined Life of the Saint of Avila,” there is a story of a girl who is researching Saint Teresa’s life. She is dating a publisher, they are walking, it is snowing in Paris, the man draws her close to himself to shield her from the blizzard, and kisses her. The kiss transfigures her, elevating her to the ecstasy of Saint Teresa, to Bernini's statue, to a unity with objects around her, to history, time, and space: 

“Not me, not him, it isn’t us, this kiss belongs to nobody; someone or something beyond ourselves courses through it. Who is kissing whom?...
Unplanned and futureless, that strange, long embrace, outside of time, outside of place, had the tang of impossibility, and we both knew it. All the more reason not to let it go…”

bottom of page