Since earliest times music and dance have played a major role in uniting people through ritual, often seeking union with the divine through trance or ecstasy. This festival seeks to bring back some spiritual nourishment to our lives; to focus our physical and mental selves. While the music and rituals associated with each genre are very different from each other, they share a common thread in bringing people together in search of enlightenment. These are just a few of the many forms that music takes to enrich our lives.
Niyaz has created a 21st century global trance tradition by seamlessly blending Sufi poetry and folk songs from its native Iran and surrounding countries with rich acoustic instrumentation and modern electronics. Formed in California in 2004 and based in Montreal, Niyaz has a far-reaching repertoire that tears down cultural boundaries and bridges the gap between East and West. The group was founded by the spellbinding vocalist/composer Azam Ali, whose Iranian heritage and Indian upbringing have deeply influenced her music, and multi-instrumentalist/ composer Loga Ramin Torkian (oud & kamaan lutes). They are joined by Didem Basar (kanun-zither), Gabriel Ethier (keyboards, programming) and Vaneet Vyas (tabla-drums), and whirling dervish dancer Miriam Peretz.
“a swirling, whirling palette of colors fronted by Ali’s rich and precise voice.” – NPR
“Ali’s velvet vocals convey both sensuality and devotional ecstasy.” – Songlines