Niyaz: Sumud [Digipak] *

Audio Samples

>Parishaan
>Sosin
>Shah Sanam
>Mazaar
>Vafa
>Dertli
>Masooz
>Rayat al Sumud
>Mahtaab
>Arzusun

Track List

>Parishaan
>Sosin
>Shah Sanam
>Mazaar
>Vafa
>Dertli
>Masooz
>Rayat al Sumud
>Mahtaab
>Arzusun

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

Niyaz blends medieval Sufi poetry and folk songs from Iran, the Indian sub-continent, Turkey, rich acoustic instrumentation, with modern electronics. With two critically acclaimed and best-selling albums release on Six Degrees Records, Niyaz has created a 21st century global trance tradition and have quickly become a standout ensemble in a very crowded world music field. Founded in 2005 by Iranian vocalist/composer Azam Ali, Iranian multi-instrumentalist/composer Loga Ramin Torkkian, and two time Grammy nominee American producer/re-mixer Carmen Rizzo, Niyaz is considered by critics to be one of the most groundbreaking groups of its time. With their unique blend of Sufi mysticism and trance electronic, Niyaz has gamered a solid international fanbase and continues to perform at some of the most prestigious venues and festivals for enthusiastic audiences worldwide.

Struggle as a metaphor is something every human can relate to. One of the most prolific and challenging forms of struggle in the world today is the plight of ethnic and religious minorities, which is the topic of Niyaz's third album, Sumud (pronounced soomood) forthcoming on Six Degrees Records. Translating from Arabic as 'steadfastness,' lead singer Azam Ali chose this philosophical term as a symbolic reminder that, as she explains, 'every human being should inherit the right to live with dignity and freedom upon the land on which they are born.'

With a heavier emphasis on the electronic side of their sound and a special guest vocal appearance from Oscar-winning Indian composer, musician and singer AR Rahman, Sumud is the most powerful release yet from one of global fusion's most popular bands.

All About Jazz
When I heard Azam explain what sumud means, I had a lump in my throat. It's very powerful and meaningful. Understand the meaning of the album makes the music even better. It's not just ten songs. It's an entire concept of this work.

Allmusic.com
For those who have grown up with Western pop music and who don't speak Arabic (or Persian or Turkish), the temptation when listening to a Niyaz album is simply to sit back and let the sinuous grooves and "exotic" melodies wash over you in a state of blissful Orientalist incomprehension. But that's always been a good way to miss a significant part of what this band is doing. While the lyrical themes of their first two albums have focused mainly on issues related to Iranians in exile around the world, their third, titled Sumud (Steadfastness) deals with broader issues of cultural diaspora and ethnic minority status. The program draws on Kurdish, Turkish, Afghani, and Palestinian material as well as folk songs from Iran; some of the songs are traditional folk music, while others are settings of secular and mystical poems from the 11th to the 17th centuries. For the most part, the songs are not directly political; instead, they tend to address predictable themes of love and longing, cultural tolerance, suffering as a shared experience, and endurance. But for those with ears to hear, there are subtle messages about the ultimate ineffectuality of borders, the implications of universal experience, and cultural resistance. If you are uninterested in such messages, there is still the option of sitting back and letting Ali's gorgeous voice and the band's tough, dark, powerful grooves carry you away.

Freegan Kolektiva
Niyaz deliver spiritual folk music primarily from Iran and the Middle East as fused with electronic music and a lyrical descent based on age-old poems. Their sound is emotive, intricate and intriguing - expanding our mindset beyond social fragmentation, forging a vision of a borderless and unified world.

Albumreviews.org
Niyaz the band returns with their third album, Sumud. The album's title is Arabic for 'steadfastness' and the record's musical themes center around the plight of ethnic and religious minorities around the world. Azam Ali chose this philosophical term as a symbolic reminder that, as she explains, 'every human being should inherit the right to live with dignity and freedom upon the land on which they are born.' With a heavier emphasis on the electronic side of their sound and a special guest vocal appearance from Oscar-winning Indian composer, musician and singer AR Rahman, Sumud is the most powerful release yet from one of global fusion's most popular bands.

Inside World Music Blog
The modern arrangements of the Persian group Niyaz are steeped in Persian, Kurdish, Afghani, Palestinian, and Turkish folk songs. The contemporary arrangements on keyboards, electronics, drums, and percussion are due to the talented Carmen Rizzo. Azam Ali is the vocalist, but she also plays the santoor and assorted percussion. Loga Ramin Torkian plays saz, robab, kamaan, djumbush, lafta, guitar, and viol. The stunning compositions are modernized, but not so much they are diluted with boring or cheap embellishments. Instead, the result is a catchy, moving, and ear-friendly approach to folk music. The popularized result is not devoid of folkish charm. Sumud, which means 'steadfastness' in Arabic, is appropriately-titled. Sumud will astound, amaze, and awe-inspire all who listen to it.

Rateyourmusic.com
Azam Ali and her bands Niyaz and past Vas have been one of my most favourite listening in recent years. In her music, traditional Middle Eastern music meets the modern in most stimulative manner combining brilliant rhythms and percussion with electronic grooves and the exceptional ethereal vocals of Ali. Of those acts, Niyaz is the most powerful, yet the most simple and easy to listen and approve. The world music of Ali and her groups are unequalled and despite of my searches, I haven't found another group to compete them. This is original stuff.

Album Notes

Personnel: Naser Musa (vocals, oud); Ulas Ozdemir (vocals, saz); Habib Meftah Boushehri (vocals, flute, percussion); Azam Ali (vocals, percussion); Loga Ramin Torkian (guitar, saz, viol); Carmen Rizzo (keyboards, drums, percussion, electronics); Alex Bellegarde (upright bass); Omer Avci (percussion).

Audio Mixer: Carmen Rizzo.

Liner Note Authors: Azam Ali; Niyaz.

Recording information: Istanbul, Turkey; Montreal, Quebec.

Photographers: Raymond Van Tassel; Laura Arwen Berg.

Arranger: Niyaz.

For those who have grown up with Western pop music and who don't speak Arabic (or Persian or Turkish), the temptation when listening to a Niyaz album is simply to sit back and let the sinuous grooves and "exotic" melodies wash over you in a state of blissful Orientalist incomprehension. But that's always been a good way to miss a significant part of what this band is doing. While the lyrical themes of their first two albums have focused mainly on issues related to Iranians in exile around the world, their third, titled Sumud (Steadfastness) deals with broader issues of cultural diaspora and ethnic minority status. The program draws on Kurdish, Turkish, Afghani, and Palestinian material as well as folk songs from Iran; some of the songs are traditional folk music, while others are settings of secular and mystical poems from the 11th to the 17th centuries. For the most part, the songs are not directly political; instead, they tend to address predictable themes of love and longing, cultural tolerance, suffering as a shared experience, and endurance. But for those with ears to hear, there are subtle messages about the ultimate ineffectuality of borders, the implications of universal experience, and cultural resistance. If you are uninterested in such messages, there is still the option of sitting back and letting Ali's gorgeous voice and the band's tough, dark, powerful grooves carry you away. ~ Rick Anderson



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