Persian Music Sensation Mamak Khadem Talks About Her Upcoming Performance at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2011

Mamak Khadem
Mamak Khadem, one of the great voices of the Persian music tradition is scheduled to perform Sunday, July 10th at 19:00 at the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak (Malaysia).

You will be performing at the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) in July 2011. What material will you be presenting there?

The concert will include pieces from “A Window To Color,” my new album that is coming out very soon; Jostojoo, the previous album; and a couple of songs from Axiom Of Choice.”

Can you tell us about the band you will be taking to the Rainforest World Music Festival?

The ensemble is my usual fusion ensemble: Hamid Saeidi on santoor, Jamshied Sharifi on Keyboards, Ole Mathisen on clarinet and sax, and Ben Whittman on percussion.”

On Sunday, May you had a special concert in Los Angeles featuring Omar Faruk Tekbilek as a guest. Will you be collaborating more with him in the future?

We had such a great performance and amazing connection. We are thinking about it and hope we can find ways to do it again.”

Your album Jostojoo came out in 2007. Are you working on any new recordings?

“The new album is just about out. It’s called “a Window To Color” and is based on the poetry of late Sohrab Sepehri (1928-1980).”

Mamak Khadem shared a copy of what is in the liner notes:

{“If you are coming to see me, pray tread slowly, gently, lest the fragile china of my solitude may crack.” That is how painter/poet Sohrab Sepehri preferred to be approached. A mystic and a seasoned world traveler, he never lost touch with his Persian roots. His vision was inspired by simplicity and an openness to seeing the Creator in all things.

His God was in nature, and the wonders instilled by its emanation. His poems, reflecting his deep innermost feelings and perceptions, depict sometimes in autobiographical strokes, stages of a “voyage from seed to flower.” His brush on canvas and his pen on paper moved to embody this vision in poetic form. He was “the wayfarer,” the “lover who was always alone,” translating his experiences of life into word and color.}

Born in Iran, Mamak Khadem was part of the Children’s Choir for National Radio and Television, and emigrated to the United States as a teenager in 1976. After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, her passion for singing and learning traditional Persian vocal styles grew.

She was inspired by works of master musicians in the 1980s and regularly traveled back to Iran to study with prominent vocalists and musicians. She also studied classical Indian singing at Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in northern California and Eastern European singing with the Los Angeles-based women’s choir Nevenka.

In 1992, Mamak joined world music group Axiom of Choice, and over the next ten years created three albums with the group. After Axiom of Choice, Khadem embarked on a solo career and in 2007 released a solo recording titled Jostojoo (Forever Seeking). Inspired by her travels throughout the Middle East, Khadem adapted Persian poetry to rearranged traditional melodies from various regions of Iran, Baluchistan, Armenia, Turkey, Greece and Kurdistan.

Recordings available:

More about the the Rainforest World Music Festival:

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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