Habib Samai, the wonder of Persian Santoor


Habib Samai, the wonder of Persian Santoor
1901  -  07.11.1946

Habib Sama'i* the son of Sama Hozur, one of the most famous santoor players of Qajar era was born 1901 in Tehran.

Habib was only four years old, where he accompanied the santoor playing of his father on tonbak in order to grasp the concept of rhythmic compositions. Sama Hozur taught some years later, as he was ten, the concepts of santoor playing too.

Habib, the legendary santoori, gave in the national music school santoor lessons, played for a long time santoor solo at Tehrans Broadcasting center (radio Bisim) or collaborated with the greatest musician of his time like ostad Abol-Hassan Saba, Hosseyn Tehrani, Parvane, Ghamar ol-Moluk Vaziri.

Through this broad casting he introduced santoor into Persian music society, while most of the people had forgotten this instrument.

He recorded some of 78 Rpm records with the famous vocalist of his time Parvane, which are the only records do we have yet from his performances.

Some of his known students are Mehdi Nazemi -the most famous santoor maker, Ghobad Zafar, Nur-Ali Borumand and Morteza Abdol-Rasuli. We believe him as a creative composer, a very legendary santoor virtuoso and great accompaniment. He accompanied the two most famous singers of his time Ghamar ol-Moluk Vaziri and Parvane.

Habib predeceased on Thursday 11th July 1946 in Tehran and buried in Zahir od-Doale graveyard.

* The are different romanization (transliteration) forms for the last name of Habib like Samai, Samaee etc. Maybe you can find by word of mouth of Sama'i like Soma'i or Soma'ee, which is incorrect.



1. History of Persian music by Ruhollah Khaleghi
2. Encyclopedia of Persian musicians by Mehdi Setayeshgar
3. Written and Recapitulate Translation from Persian to English by Pooyan Nassehpoor, 01. August 2007, Halle/Germany