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Tanbur Master - Hajj Amin Elahi

HAJJ AMIN ELAHI (birth name Aminollah Nemati, legal name Aminollah Elahi) was born on March 2nd, 1919 in a small village in western Persia called Jeyhounabad, into a family of great spiritual lineage. Born into a Kurdish/Persian family he was the first child of Ostad Nur Ali Elahi and Khunoom Shawase. He was the first grandchild of Hajj Nematollah who is considered one of the greatest leaders and mystics in Kurdish / Ahl-e Haqq history. He received the title Hajj at a very young age after completing a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Soltan Sahak (14th century founder of the Ahl-I Haqq). Hajj Amin was a true humanitarian and philanthropist who devoted his life to helping others.

Hajj Amin was a master at the art of tanbur (Persian lute, forefather to all stringed instruments), a mystical leader of the Ahl-e Haqq (followers of truth) order, master at the Kurdish dance, a great flute (nay) player, a true scholar, and a historian. He lived in Iran until 1983 when he moved to Lyon, France with his family. He remained in Lyon until he passed away on March 23, 2004 at 11am, at the age of 85.

Nur Ali Elahi & Hajj Amin Elahi
A 1944 photograph of Hajj Amin Elahi standing next to his beloved father, Nur Ali Elahi. Both are dressed in traditional Kurdish garb.

His Music  

The unique and angelic style of Hajj Amin’s tanbur playing was unlike any of his predecessors. He was exposed to the beautiful melodies of the tanbur from birth due to the fact his father was the most respected tanbur player in Kurdistan, and in fact the world. In the late 1940s Hajj Amin was one of the first people to ever document and record the ancient melodies of the tanbur.

His style, which is known as the “Hajj-Amini” style, has become universally accepted by many mainstream tanbur players. He had a very consecutive, steady and harmonic flow to his music that is unique to his style of playing. Almost everyone who heard the beautiful melodies of his sacred music felt instantly transported and captured by its grandeur.

His legacy was one of kindness, compassion, love, and unity. He always sought to remind us of God's greatness and kindness. In 2004, thousands of people mourned his death worldwide which was also noted in the New York Times. He will be greatly missed!

Hajj Amin Elahi
Virginia, USA, 1986