Cleverly crafted songs with a middle eastern fusion folk edge, a unique sound that reflect the diverse life and times of violinist and composer Bahman Sarram (Bviolin).
Following up the 2008 independent release "How This Weighs on Me", 2009's, "Stretch Reach", is his finest work of his songwriting/composing career to date.
The CD features 11 new compositions produced by Sven-Erik Seaholm.
Bahman delivers another diverse soundscape in "Stretch Reach", but with an added intensity of original middle-eastern-flavored composition and arrangements..
Bahman Sarram is a classically trained violinist who displays a remarkable mastery of the instrument in every note of his passionate performances. No matter what style he's playing—jazz, funk, fusion, folk or rock—his improvisational skills, raw energy and natural instinct for melody have made him a valuable addition to many different bands. After years of composing music for others and touring internationally in bands, the time was finally right to tell his own story through his music.
Much like seeing him and his full band "Gypsy Nights Ensemble" live, Bahman delivers another diverse soundscape in "Stretch Reach", but with new intensity on middle eastern compositional movements. His continued folk/spiritual lyrics take you on a journey that is his most autobiographical yet.
"I was 4 years old, and my family was being exiled from our country, our home. We were fleeing a land ripped apart by turmoil, and political and social revolution."
For Bahman Sarram, AKA Bviolin, the uneasy years of his childhood in Iran were marked by chapters of triumph and tribulation. Those memories continue to have a profound effect on him to this day.
"I remember the music of my home land, dancing while my mom sang at parties. I remember always being moved by sound and wanting to be part of it in some way," Bahman says. "I know those days will always be a part of me, every time I play. It's inescapable".
David Ybarra - Bass
Reality Mine - EP
How This Weighs On Me- Full Length (208)
Stretch Reach (2009)-Full Length
Stretching and Reaching with BViolin
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It's 7:15 p.m. I am wearing a suit and sitting on the ground with my back against a wall. I have no ...It's 7:15 p.m. I am wearing a suit and sitting on the ground with my back against a wall. I have no shoes on, just a fresh pair of argyle dress socks I got from my sister for Christmas. As I look across the cushioned bamboo floor of Four Seasons Yoga Studio in University City, I notice a man with barely contained excitement headed in my direction. As my vision finally focuses I recognize him as Mehdi Sarram, father of Bahman (pronounced like ‘Batman', without the "t"). Some of you may be more familiar with Bahman via his artist moniker: BViolin (www.bviolin.com).
"It has always been this way with Bahman," Medi begins before he even gets to where I'm sitting. "Ever since he was very young; it's always been music, music, music!"
For the duration of this sentence, I have been struggling to stand and greet the man properly, to no avail. My ingrained sense of propriety, proving no match for the combination of slick polyester blend and the buffed luster of the floor, I find myself slip-stumbling in place like Scooby Doo trying to run from a ghost at a haunted amusement park.
He grasps my hand, calmly places his other on top of them and continues:
"He was a master musician," he says, clearly beaming from parental pride. "He went to Villanova; he heard that Dave Matthews, and then off to California...." He trails off, almost wistfully.
"And now...all this!"
He spreads his arms and gestures toward the room that in just a few moments will be filled with the music of BViolin and his guitarist, Reverend Stickman. This will be as an opening act for Bahman's successful Zen House Concert Series.
What's even more notable than the fact that Mehdi passed along this exact same information the last time I saw him, is the undeniably energetic enthusiasm with which it was rendered. This applies as well to his mom, Faye.
"Bahman has always loved music, all his life." Adding quickly, "His friends are also very important to him."
Keep in mind, these aren't things being said in the context of an interview, just pleasant familial chit-chat. What is worth noting, is that the apple has not fallen so far from the tree.
Over the last year or two, I have had the pleasure of seeing BViolin in action, as a fine musician, promoter, and as a friend. I have witnessed that same bursting-at-the-seams zeal that his mom and dad exhibited, only in the form of just about every single thing that BViolin directs his attention toward.
"Flaming Pie? Are you kidding me? Flaming Pie! Paul McCartney playing all those parts...Melodies for daaaaaaays...I mean, everything. Just brilliant."
"Brilliant" is definitely one of Bahman's favorite words and he always uses it with the sort of swashbuckling panache you might find displayed in an Errol Flynn movie. In other words: He owns it.
When asked about his father's twice-offered biography, the artist known as BViolin opts for humility.
"There's a certain amount of parental exuberance, for sure," he laughs. It's a characteristic laugh that might remind one of a tennis serve, his eyes and head rolling back for a moment, then effortlessly falling forward to meet those of the person he's conversing with. It suggests a connection; a way of being that lets you know he's is not only listening to you, but he's also interested.
That interest, as well as the enthusiasm that so often accompanies it, is central to Bahman's musical journey.
"I was born in Iran, a short time before the revolution and subsequent regime of the Ayatollah Khemeini. Just before this [under the Shaw's rule] there was a lot of stuff being shown on television...a lot of art and music in particular. I really liked it whenever violins were on. Then one day, WHAM! No more music. No more dancing. These things were western and were therefore FORBIDDEN.
"This, of course, only made me more fixated, and when I was four years old I kept asking for a violin. Eventually, I received one, and this old guy was kind of sought out in secrecy to give me some lessons on it. It wasn't too long after that we were forced to flee the country. My dad first and my mom, my sister and me a few months later. We went to Vienna for a year and then to America.
"Vienna is about the time that music had to stop for a little while, because my sister and I had to deal with learning a new language and living in Austria. A year or so after we moved to Philadelphia, it was back to private lessons and then orchestra, orchestra, orchestra all the way up to college. Once I had graduated high school, I was like, ‘Well, that's that. I'm not gonna be doing that anymore, because I've got to concentrate on going to Villanova.' I actually left my violin at home.
"Anyway, I started out a computer sciences major and after a year of discovering the more ‘socially-oriented' aspects of college life, I found a spot at the school's radio station. Everyone else there was playing punk on their shows, but I was like, ‘Let's play some Gypsy music...some rock...a little of this, a little of that.'
"So one day I get my ONE caller for the year. They want to hear ‘Ants Marching' by the Dave Matthews band, so I'm like, ‘Okay...' Well, I hated it! The guy's voice, the music...but then, I started to listen to the words...the stories. I was a fan!
"Around the same time I met Chris [Roland], who was a keyboard prodigy. Just a ridiculous musician who can do everything. He rekindled my musical interest. I had to go back home to get my violin!" he chuckles. "We played a bad violin and piano version of Clapton's ‘Wonderful Tonight' at an open mic at some no name bar, but we got a great response, and I was hooked, HOOKED!"
Still, the violin took a back seat yet again to more "sensible" concerns.
"I went straight from college into the corporate world. I mean, I still played a little, but I was focused on making the money.
"A few years later, San Diego came. Suddenly, I was in the Middle Earth Band and [Matthews tribute band] Stepping Feet. It was great. I was living on both sides of my musical brain. On Thursday nights, I played for belly dancers. Then on Saturday nights, I went downtown and played Dave Matthews songs. It was perfect!
"Then, the Fryday Band came into the picture. I was like, ‘Wow. This is what it's like to play original music.' I just fell in love with the songwriting.
"The band signed to a local label, I quit the corporate world, and we hit the road for a few months. I came back and started a business doing computer work on the side. I eventually left the band and the record label for a girl who I thought I was gonna marry....She ultimately left me as well, but hey! That's how albums are made! My first album How This Weighs On Me is filled with songs about that difficult period in my life."
That recording, with its blend of folk-inflected introspective songs and flamenco flourishes, is delivered with brushed drums, acoustic textures, and a hushed delivery that suggests he's speaking in whispered tones about things that have affected him very, very deeply.
"After that album came out, things really started to happen. I got a regular gig in North County that led to me being able to perform and hang out with a lot of artists in the L.A./ Hollywood scene. I got to record at Henson Studios, Capitol...that whole ‘theater' that is L.A. music.
"At the same time, I was beginning to feel as if the Dave Matthews influence was too apparent and becoming a bit of a curse. I started to tap back into the music that I had performed with Middle Earth, which were my soloing songs. I began to wonder what that music would sound like on record. That's when all the songs that ended up on my next record started being written."
That album, titled Stretch/Reach, is where I personally came to experience BViolin and his music in a more comprehensive way, as it was produced and recorded at my studio. Each day I bore witness not just to an artist reinventing himself and his music, but also an excellent example of how one should carry themselves through this world. Challenges were met with all the gusto of kids on the first day of snow. Ideas were welcomed and thoroughly explored. Egos were never in evidence. And there was love, which is undoubtedly another of Bahman's favorite words. He spreads it like jelly on the toast that is the world around him. It is this and his undeniable knack for surrounding himself with like-minded and talented folks that has prompted myself and others to refer to him as a "people genius."
At the Zen concert, BViolin and Stickman have the crowd enraptured. Eyes closed and head back, his bow slashes and swoops like a bird of prey as the reverend's guitar lays down a snaky groove. The two instruments intertwine and begin to spiral skyward, stretching, reaching, and building to an ecstatic musical climax, only to bring us all gently to the end of his impressive set of music.
"Thank you all. There's just so much talent here in San Diego, so many places you can go to hear some great music. We're just honored to have you all here. Peace."
He's right. There are lots of different kinds of music and artists out there. Here's hoping for more people who understand life and living as well as BViolin.
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“We left the country in 1979, when I was four years old,” says Iranian-born violinist Bahman Sar...
“We left the country in 1979, when I was four years old,” says Iranian-born violinist Bahman Sarram. “My family became exiles overnight, due to the political and social climate at the time, as revolutionaries enslaved a once-free country.” Shortly after arriving in the U.S., Sarram began taking violin lessons at a private conservatory and played with various school orchestras.
“I moved to San Diego in the summer of 2000 after living in Philadelphia most of my life,” says Sarram, who records and performs under the name Bviolin. “I was a full-time computer consultant and programmer, and the job market was good, so I decided to move to someplace completely different [from Philadelphia] in my eyes. I knew of San Diego because we’d come for family vacations to visit my cousins and uncle when I was little.… I loved this place as a kid.”
Sarram fronts Bviolin and the January Avalanche Project, though his next album (set for May release) will be a solo Bviolin project. “It’s mainly an instrumental journey of compositions I’ve written, rather than singer-songwriter-type songs.”
“The Persian violin influence...or, rather, a Middle Eastern violin influence, is always there in my music, especially in my originals, which I describe as Persian jazz fusion and folk. Whenever there are any Iranians in the crowd, they seem attracted right away to my style of violin.… I get a lot of compliments about how great it is to hear the Persian influence in a broad range of styles of my music.”
There are no upcoming dates at this time.