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Azam Ali


Country of origin:

Born in Iran, raised in India, currently lives in U.S.

Type of music generally:

Persian world fusion music

Status:

Most recent release, Lamentation of Swans: A Journey Towards Silence (as Azam Ali and Loga R. Torkian, 2013)

See also:

Azam Ali's site

Wikipedia's entry on Ali Azam

The Ectophiles' Guide's pages for Azam Ali's other projects: Vas, Niyaz, and Roseland

Comparisons:

Lisa Gerrard, Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins), Sheila Chandra

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Azam Ali has a voice of liquid gold. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Azam Ali is very prolific these days. I caught her band Niyaz live. The group mixes traditional Persian instruments with electronics. They were excellent.
     Ali is also in a band with film composer Tyler Bates. It's more of a darkwave/rock sound (think late period Siouxsie or early Dead Can Dance) called Roseland.
     For lovers of Liz Fraser and Lisa Gerrard. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

Recommended first album:

Either

Recordings:


Portals of Grace

Release info:

2002—Narada—11390

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Azam Ali—vocals, hammered dulcimer

Guest artists:

Greg Ellis—frame drum, riq, dumbek, bells, keyboards, tuned gong and bowls, vocal drones, karkarba, cajon, nagara
Nicole Baker—soprano voice
Mark Beasom—bass voice
George Stearne—tenor voice
Dan Torres—saz
Naser Musa—oud
Ethan James—hurdy gurdy, nyckelharpa
Shira Kammen—rebek, vielle
Dann Torrez—saz
Cameron Stone—cello
Chris Bleth—duduk
Pejman Hadadi—tombak, daf

Produced by:

Azam Ali

Comments:

Azam Ali's solo album (singer of Vas) is really beautiful. It reminds me very much of Lisa Gerrard's Mirror Pool. (In fact, she acknowledges Lisa Gerrard and Liz Fraser as influences). Her extensive liner notes are very intelligent, too. They have the feel of musical anthropology combined with a layperson's enthusiasm over a subject. She views her cd as introducing folks to medieval music, and does so in a non-condescending way. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

The lead vocalist of Vas comes out with a beautiful solo album that sounds amazingly like...Vas. A bit more pure in its Iranian influences than Vas, but a great album none the less. (jjhanson@att.net)

There is something about the haunting sounds and melodies of music from the east. Perhaps, it's just the foreignness it has to westerners not used to such musical creations. However, there is a familiar ring that intertwines the music but also the cultures of all humanity into an underlying oneness that is forgotten or suppressed by most. This music tends to reawaken the stuff that binds us all together. I'd say light the incense, dim the lights, pull out the relaxant of your choice and enjoy this masterpiece. (jsutton@hrmusic.com)


Elysium for the Brave

Release info:

2006—Six Degrees Records—657036 1130-2

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Azam Ali—voice, hammered dulcimer, daf, frame drums, chan chan, zils, all arrangements

Guest artists:

Carmen Rizza—programming, keyboards, synthesizers
Loga Ramin Torkian—guitar viol, lafta, electric guitar, qjura (1-3, 7-9)
Trey Gunn—warr guitar (1, 6)
Pat Mastelatta—drum set, toms (1)
Tyler Bates—electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards (5, 9), bass (3)
Heyavash Nourai—violins (4)
Jeff Rona—programming, keyboards (8)
Satnam Ramgotra—tabla (8, 9)
Andre Harutounyan—darbuka, nagaras, Turkish dhol, shakers (2, 7, 8) Omid Torbatian—ney (8)

Produced by:

Azam Ali, Carmen Rizza, Jeff Rona

Comments:

Azam Ali, vocalist of Vas and Niyaz, has always been a closet goth. Her wordless vocals tended toward the minor key. In her first English language album, she brings out the black nail polish with her dark, contemplative lyrics about war and unrequited love. The music she and her cohorts construct are dark ambient techno pieces liberally accented with the Persian and Indian music that she developed in both her other projects. Danceable rhythms sinuously percolate, while exotic instruments play against a tapestry of delayed guitar effects and swirling keyboards. The sorrowful chord progressions wouldn't sound out of place on a Siouxsie or Robert Smith album, and the compositions—courtesy of such collaborators as Axiom of Choice's Loga Ramin Terkian and Niyaz's Carmen Rizzo—meld traditional and electronic instrumentation seamlessly. The ace in the hole, of course, is Ali's beautiful, rich voice. She turns English into alien language, twisting vowels into odd and magical shapes. In the past, she's sounded like Lisa Gerrard here, or Sheila Chandra there. On this album, Ali sounds like herself. Erotic, mysterious and melancholy, it's not too early to call this the ethereal album of the year. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

From Night to the Edge of Day

Release info:

2011—Six Degrees—657036 117-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

This album of lullabies inspired by the birth of her first child is incredible beautiful. Don't mistake it for a set intended to soothe restive children to sleep. Comprising both original and traditional music and lyrics from several Middle Eastern countries, it's more like an acoustic Azam Ali album and can be enjoyed by people of all ages at any time of day. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Lamentation of Swans: A Journey Towards Silence

Release info:

2013—Terrestrial Lane—6-23339-1636-2-0

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Azam Ali—voice, santour, all percussion, drums, programming, keyboards
Loga Ramin Torkian—kamaan, guitar, viol, viola da gamba, saz, robab, electric guitar, keyboards, bass, string arrangements

Comments:

Although her husband receives co-billing, the sound isn't much different from Azam Ali's solo albums, though this particular album is darker and mellower. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

Azam Ali is the voice on the soundtrack to Children of Dune's "Inama Nushif."


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2016-07-20 19:33:05.
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