Araz Ensemble Launches Sounds of Persia Monthly Series in Toronto

Rahim Shahriyari
Rahim Shahriyari
Toronto, Canada – On Friday, January 30th, Small World launches the Sounds of Persia series with the current stars of Azerbaijani music. From January to June 2009, Toronto plays host to a monthly series of performances showcasing the breadth and beauty of music from Iran and its diaspora. From Kurdish and Azeri to Canadian; from established icons to future stars; from devotional to popular, the series showcases the performers who set the tone for Iranian music. 

Rahim Shahriyari is among those at the forefront of the Azerbaijani music scene in Iran. He composes, sings and plays the garmon – the accordion traditionally used in Azerbaijani folk music. Since the Azerbaijan Republic gained its independence, Rahim has gone to Baku on several occasions to bring back new music and lyrics. He and the Araz Ensemble, the group he co-founded, have been dazzling Iranian audiences with their performances of Azerbaijani music, which these days also includes folk dances of the region.

With its energetic rhythms and catchy melodies, the music of Araz is a rousing, captivating experience for the audience. Rahim and his garmon are supported by multiple vocals, clarinet, strings and drums in songs that span a wide range of emotions. Though there is a substantial population of Azerbaijanis living in Iran, up until the Revolution [1979] Azerbaijani music was rarely heard in public music venues. Rahim’s efforts and dedication to this form are rewarded with the steady growth of awareness and interest toward Azerbaijani music. For instance, on radio stations, he can hear his own music being played daily, even though all of the programming is in Persian.

Azerbaijanis are not the only ones who tune in to Azerbaijani music. "For the last six years that I’ve lived in Tehran, I’ve been giving three or four major concerts a month," Rahim says. "We usually attract an audience that’s about half-Azerbaijani and half-Persian. Not so long ago when we gave a concert in Gorgan, a city in the northern part of Iran, it was mostly all Persians who attended and seemingly, were not concerned that they couldn’t understand the words to the Azerbaijani songs.”

 Sounds of Persia acknowledges the generous support of Dr. Kouroush Reyhanian.

Friday, January 30 @ 8:00 PM
Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St. W.
Tickets: $30 / $40 / $50, available at www.smallworldmusic.com and Pegah Books: 416-223-0850; Pars video: 416-512-2414; and Sarayeh Bamdad: 905-780-5947

THE Series:

Kamkars
Thursday, February 19, 8:00
Toronto Centre for the Arts
5040 Yonge. St.
Tickets $50 – 70 at 416 872-1111

Darya Dadvar
Saturday, March 7, 8:00
Toronto Centre for the Arts
5040 Yonge. St.
Tickets $40 – 60 at 416 872-1111
 
Alireza Ghorbani & Shiraz
Thursday April 9, 8:00
Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W.
Tickets: $30 at 416 973-4000

Homayoun Shajarian
Friday, June 5
Toronto Centre for the Arts
5040 Yonge. St.
Tickets $50 – 70 at 416 872-1111

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