Mostafa Shams was born inTehran into an Azarbaijani family and has been playing the Tonbak, Daf (Gaval) and Naghara (Dhol) since an early age. He has carried out an extensive study of different styles of playing and notating the Tonbak and Daf. He has been living in Britain since 1976.

He graduated in 1983-85 with the degrees of B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the university of Newcastle Upon-Tyne in Mining and Rock Mechanics Engineering. In 1987 P.G.C.E. in secondary Mathematics and Physics from the Goldsmiths College, University of London, and in 1994 with the degrees of Ph.D. and D.I.C. in Petrophysics and Applied Geophysics from the Imperial College, University of London. He is currently teaching and doing his MBA in Educational Management with the Leicester University.

He has been influenced by both past and present virtuosos of the instrument, such as Hussein Tehrani, Amir Naser Eftettah, Bahman Rajabi, Morteza Ayan, Naser Farhangfar and … . His close friendship with Bahman Rajabi (the great Teacher and Tonbak virtuoso) and Morteza Ayan has given him lots of inspiration in developing his understanding and playing the technique of the Tonbak and conception of rhythm.

He has taken part in many concerts and played with renowned and outstanding musicians such as Reza Shaffiian (Santoor), Reza Ghassemi (Sehtar), Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh (Oud/Barbat), Zeidolah Toulouie (Tar), Tooraj Kiaras (Vocal), Rahmatullah Badiei (Kamancheh and Violin).

In July 2005 a duet on Tonbak,naghara and Daf with Tigran Alexanyan on Duduk and Sorna/Zorna, was performed for BBC Radio 3 at WOMAD 2005. In October 2005 performed live with Tigran Aleksanyan the Armenian musician who played Duduk and Greek musician Matthaios Tsahourides who played Pontic on Charlie Gillette’s BBC London 94.9 ‘the sound of the world, Show.