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July 14, 2013
"One of the wonders of world trance music.” — Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times
Sunday, July 14
- 7pm $24
Called “one of the wonders of world trance music” by the Los Angeles Times, Mamak Khadem blends her roots in the ancient poetry and music of the Persian masters with a bold and revolutionary new sound. In her earlier work as co-founder and lead singer of the acclaimed cross-cultural ensemble Axiom of Choice, and on her two subsequent solo albums, the powerful singer has created a vibrantly emotional and spiritual body of work that she hopes will inspire a deeper appreciation for cultural diversity in general, and for Persian arts in particular, at a time when the great beauty of Iran’s ancient culture is too often eclipsed by its present-day politics.
The classically trained Khadem has studied her art extensively in both Iran and the United States, seizing every opportunity to train with the finest traditional Persian vocalists as well as learning classical Indian vocal tradition at the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in northern California. As a child she performed with the Children’s Choir for National Radio & Television of Iran, but it wasn’t until after the country’s revolution that music truly became her passion.
Khadem moved from Tehran to Los Angeles as a student, going on to achieve graduate degrees in mathematics and teach at university level, but as time went on her passion and gift for music became her true path, particularly as women’s rights to sing in public were being curtailed in Iran. Her work has very much reflected her life experience -- of straddling and reconciling two cultures, old and new, and creating transcendent beauty from both their synergies and their contrasts.
Khadem’s first solo release, Jostojoo (2007), was inspired by her extensive travels throughout the Middle East, and features some of her favorite Persian poetry set to carefully-selected traditional melodies from the cultures of Armenia, Greece and Turkey, as well as from her native Iran.
Her latest work, A Window To Color, is a conceptual album inspired by the poetry of Iran’s late, gifted poet and artist, Sohrab Sepehri. In eight original compositions crafted around his words, she pays tribute to Sepehri’s richly allegorical verse and imagery, celebrating an appreciation of nature and the divinity within all beings. The album was released in October 2011 to coincide with the poet’s birthday.
Mamak Khadem’s distinctive, expressive powerhouse of a voice has been heard on numerous film and television scores, including feature films The Peacemaker, Traffic, and Dracula 2000, and The Profiler, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Battlestar Galactica TV series.
She tours actively and globally, playing such prestigious venues as Washington’s Smithsonian Museum; Perth Concert Hall in Australia; the Irish World Academy of Music & Dance; the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, and Berlin’s House of Cultures. She recently turned in critically-acclaimed performances at the annual Rainforest Festival in Malaysia and the 2011 World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles. She resides in Los Angeles, where she teaches classical Persian music and conducts workshops that incorporate singing, meditation and movement.
“Khadem was extraordinary Wednesday, drawing her listeners in via the pure, emotionally communicative powers of her voice…. She is one of the wonders of world trance music.” — Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times