Mahsa Vahdat
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Mahsa Vahdat

Tehrān, Tehrān, Iran | INDIE

Tehrān, Tehrān, Iran | INDIE
Band World Folk


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Mahsa Vahdat & Mighty Sam McClain: A Deeper Tone Of Longing (Kirkelig 381; 54:37 ????) Soul-bluesman Sam McClain’s communion with his emotional life is so strong and suffused with layers of happiness or heart- ache that his singing can bring listeners to the brink of tears. His second album of love duos with excellent Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat finds them again interpreting the poetry of Nor- wegian Erik Hillestad and Iranian Mohammed Ibrahim Jafari. Traditional Persian melodies switch off with new ones by Vahdat and two Scandinavian composers. Beauty lies herein. Ordering info: - Downbeat

In cooperation with Oslo World Music Festival, Plan Norway and Nobel Peace Center we invite you to conversations about faith, hope and dreams, and about using art to make a difference.

We invite you to meet people who have something to say through their music or words, relief work or journalism, photography or video art. Common to them all is that they are deeply committed to their work and have managed to create something for themselves and others. In short, they have made a difference. This seminar will feature deep conversations and interesting stories as well as artistic performances with video and music.

The participants are:

Helen Bjørnøy – Secretary General of Plan Norway
Bjørnøy is an experienced, committed leader with a unique ability to inspire. She will explain how Plan Norway works to give children and adolescents hope and an opportunity for a better future.

Jason Diakité (aka Timbuktu) – Swedish hip hop artist
Timbuktu is dedicated to using his music to inspire others, especially youth, to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams. This autumn he travelled to Senegal for Plan Norway to take part in building a music studio. During the seminar we will show parts of the film from his visit.

Alex Lyngaas – filmmaker and traveller
This summer Lyngaas was asked by Plan Norge to go with them to Uganda to film a video-diary, documenting his meetings with people and the local communities. The series is called “Uganda Blues” and was published at

Espen Rasmussen – photographer, director of photography for Verdens Gang newspaper
Rasmussen is an award-winning Norwegian photographer whose work is currently on display in an exhibit entitled ”Transit” at the Nobel Peace Center as well as in a book of the same title. Rasmussen has created a close-up, relevant portrait of a few of the individuals who are among the world’s millions of refugees.

Kjetil Skøien – multi-faceted Norwegian artist We will show clips from the film of the production of Larache, performed at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet on October 7-11 of this year. “Dreams” was one of the themes of the show, illustrated through young Moroccan men dreaming of a better life in Europe.

Babak Ziai – vocalist with the band Forza
Babak is a young man with big dreams and high ambitions. He will tell us about the road he travelled as a refugee in Norway, his life in a reception centre for asylum seekers, and his current path and promising future as an artist in a band that is garnering rave reviews!

Mahsa Vahdat – Iranian singer and musician
Mahsa Vahdat is known for her commitment to free speech, in part through the independent organization known as Freemuse which works to improve the working conditions for musicians and composers in parts of the world where they are censored. Vahdat has recorded for the KKV music label, and is one of the collaborators on the album “Lullabies from the Axis of Evil”.

Rim Banna – Palestinian singer and composer
Rim Banna has gained recognition for her modern interpretations of traditional Palestinian folk music. She has recorded for the KKV music label, and is known for her contribution to the album “Lullabies from the Axis of Evil”. She is also recognized for her commitment to the Palestinian cause.

Seminar host:

Simen Ekern – serves as editor of the editorial section of Dagbladet newspaper and recently published a book in Norwegian entitled “New Fascists, Red Terrorists and Dreams of the Good Life”.

Free admission, but space is limited.
Registration by Monday, October 31, to

Place: Nobel Peace Center
Date: Saturday, November 5th
Time: 2:00-6:00 pm

The seminar is a cooperative effort between Oslo World Music Festival, Nobel Peace Center, TrAp (Transnational Art Production) and Plan Norway.

TrAP is also producing Kjetil Skøiens performance LARACHE – Moroccan dreams, Norwegian reality at the Norwegian Opera and Ballet this October - Trap

okt 2011
To av Midtøstens sterkeste kvinnestemmer står sammen på scenen i Kulturkirken Jakob den 4.november.

Rim Banna fra Palestina og Mahsa Vahdat fra Iran tolker klassisk poesi fra sine hjemland, og med seg har de et sterkt lag musikere fra Norge og Tyrkia.

De to har samarbeidet før, de møttes under arbeidet med produksjonen ”Lullabies from the Axis of Evil”, og siden har de begge sunget med norske musikere i ulike settinger i mange land. For første gang har de nå utviklet en helaftens konsert sammen.

Persiske diktere som Hafez og Rumi er velkjente i arabiske land. Det samme er arabiske diktere som Badr Shaker Sayyab for persere. Persisk og arabisk politikk står ofte i et motsetningsforhold, men kulturelt har de mange felles helter og idealer, ikke minst blant poeter.

Med et felles band bestående av tyrkiske Ertan Tekin (duduk, tbc) og nordmennene Eivind Aarset (Gitar), Rune Arnesen (trommer) og Gjermund Silset (bass) møter de to kjente artistene fra Midt-Østen hverandre i duetter og vekselsang med utgangspunkt i gjensidig respekt for hverandres største poetiske ikoner.

Produsent: Erik Hillestad

Besetning/ Line up

Rim Banna (vocal), Mahsa Vahdat (vocal), Ertan Tekin (duduk, tbc), Eivind Aarset (guitar), Rune Arnesen (drums), Gjermund Silset (bass) - Skjerioslo

Mahsa Vahdat from Iran and Ferhat Tunç from Turkey are well-known to many Freemuse associates. They are strong defenders of freedom of musical expression and well-known to audiences in Europe, where their music – unlike in their home countries – can be performed without restrictions.
The Award Committee stated: “Mahsa Vahdat continues to resist all pressures that the conservative sectors of Iranian society put on woman musicians. Despite such pressures Iran has a remarkably vibrant music scene that ridicules the clichés that are often written about the country, and Mahsa is a fabulous example of this. Last year, she recorded an album with Mighty Sam McClain, an artist from the ‘enemy nation’ – the US. Her courage and bold resistance in continuing to follow her artistic muse makes her an ideal laureate.”

“For almost three decades Ferhat Tunç has insisted on exercising his right to perform his music in spite of several court cases and other threats against him,” the Award Committee said in its nomination.“He has continued to sing songs in the minority language Zaza (Dimli) and in Kurmanci (Kurdish) as well as in Turkish. He has refused in a firm way to succumb to all the intimidations, but without expressing any hatred against his perpetrators. Ferhat has actively propagated the strengthening of human rights and democracy in Turkey.”

Marie Korpe, Freemuse executive director, said: “At Freemuse we have collaborated with Mahsa Vahdat and Ferhat Tunç for several years. They have inspired many artists and human rights activists all over the world. We are particularly pleased that they are also both featured on the new Freemuse CD ‘Listen to the banned’.”

The Freemuse Award statuette is created by world-renowned Swedish glass designer Göran Wärff. Each winner receives 1,000 Euro. The Award is sponsored by the Björn Afzelius International Culture Foundation, BAIK, which was initiated in memory of Swedish rock singer Björn Afzelius who died 1999. Afzelius was a political activist and a strong spokesman for suppressed people.

Last year veteran activist and folk singer Pete Seeger received the Freemuse Award. The first artist to receive the award, in 2008, was exiled Ivorian reggae artist Tiken Jah Fakoly.

The award ceremony on 25 March 2010 will be part of the Index on Censorship Awards Event at Royal Institute of British Architects in London. Media interviews can be organised. - FREEMUSE


Lullabies from the Axis of Evil (2003)
Songs from a Persian garden (2007)
I am Eve (2008)
Scent of Reunion – Love duets across civilizations (2009)
In the mirror of wine (2010)
Twinklings of Hope (2011)
Love duets across civilizations - A Deeper tone of Longing (2012)



Born in Tehran in 1973, Mahsa Vahdat started her career in music by taking piano lessons and Persian Singing from an early age with different Master Musicians in Iran. Mahsa Vahdat also plays setar. She entered that Art University in Tehran in 1993 and graduated from the Music Faculty with a B.A. in Music in the Art University she has been under the influence of many master musicians.

Since 2007 Mahsa is one of the ambassadors of Freemuse Organization, an independent international organization that advocates freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide. (
In 2010, she was granted the Freemuse Award.

Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat reflect the current evolution of Persian song. They are of a new generation of musicians, university-educated and completely devoted to their artistic cause. They express the continuation of a tradition that faces problems of identity in today's Iran.
Persian music has the capacity to renew itself constantly, a phenomenon unique to the East. As well as having a history of pure transmission, it also has authenticity of emotion. As a result of its mystical heritage, it is able to retain a feeling of nobility and depth of being, which could be called an oriental, chivalrous and melancholic romanticism.
This heritage is wonderfully portrayed by Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat. The two sisters with both similar and different characteristic timber in their voices proudly, graciously and with devoted passion take Persian poetry to new heights and new spaces. The way their voices soar and intertwine create a unique landscape for the audience. They reflect joy, sorrow, hopes, longing and love of Iranian people in their songs. Without being visible in their own society, they have continuous contact with a large audience who appreciates their art around the world.

Their Persian Ensemble has been developed through many years of working together. They took part in many world music festivals and many concerts in the world. The sound that they created is a unique way of new expression of Persian classical and regional music.
Performing this kind of Persian music where improvisation is such a powerful part of the performance is the result of cooperation of each of the five artists in the ensemble, with their emotions, ideas, experiences and musical expression.

The lyrics are mostly mystic love poems from Great Mystic poets like Hafez ,Rumi and Hallaj, Attar and some contemporary poets like Mohammad Ebrahim Jafari, Houshang Ebtehaj (Sayeh ) and also some lyrics from oral literature of Iran .

Since 2003 the Persian Ensemble has had a long lasting collaboration with the Norwegian record label Kirkelig Kulturverskted ( ), which led to a world wide release of a series of records. Their last released album “Twinklings of hope“ (2012) received wonderful reviews and attention in the world. The album is among Songline Magazine’s editor’s choice selection of the 10 best new release (top of the world) of August –September 2012.
In addition, the album has been nominated to the Independent Music Awards 2012.