Roya Bahrami & Ensemble

Roya Bahrami & Ensemble

 Washington, Washington, D.C., USA

Original innovative fusion of Persian, flamenco, Latin, and jazz performance credits such as President Obama's Inaugural concert. Offering educational and cultural lectures supporting concerts, such as that presented at the Library of Congress.


Roya Bahrami: Producer, Music Director, Composer, Lyricist, Lecturer (santurs, vocals)
A native of Iran Roya migrated to the U.S. as a teenager and studied Persian music with masters Lotfi, Alizadeh, and Talai. She also studied Western classical music and Flamenco resulting in a natural blend of traditions in her compositions. She has developed lecture-performance programs on topics such as: Music and Spirituality, and Traces of Persian Music in Andalusia. Her performance credits include National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, American University, World Cimbalom Congress ( 2009 in Mexico, 2011 in Hungary). She accompanied the flamenco dancer Carmela Greco on her U. S. tour in 2004 and has performed on Spains national TV as well as at the Museum of Flamenco Dance in Seville.

Roya founded The Roya Ensemble in 2007 to realize her Persian-flamenco compositions, resulting in, as dubbed by The Smithsonian, 'an innovative fusion with seductive sounds'. Royas latest CD I Am, I Am Not inspired by the incredible closeness of beings and the ancient Persian sufi notion of selflessness, was recorded with the full ensemble in an acoustic setting.

Roya Bahrami & Ensemble have performed at President Obamas Inaugural celebratory concerts at the Smithsonian Institution, University of Maryland, Gettysburg World Heritage Festival, Shepherd University, Amnesty International Arts Festival, Washington Folk Festival, The Mansion at Strathmore, University of Memphis, and University of Mary Washington.

2012 recipient of the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities' (DCCAH) Individual Artist Grant for creating "Cultural Dialogue through Music" and 2009 recipient of DCCAH's Folk Arts Grant for creating and presenting "Understanding Multicultural Identity through Artistic Expression." She was a guest performer and teacher at the Hackbrett Days in Linz School of Music in Austria (April 2013).

Ricardo Marlow: (flamenco guitar)

Winner of the 2008 and 2010 Maryland Individual Artist Award, Ricardo Marlow, released his debut solo flamenco guitar album Madera Sonora in 2008. Ricardo has appeared at The Kennedy Centers Millenium Stage, The Baltimore Museum of Art, the Kennedy Center Concert Hall for the 20th Mayors Arts Awards. (2004-9) Mr. Marlow has mastered his art under the tutelage of the master flamenco guitarist Gerardo Nuez in Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain.

Denis Malloy: (bass clarinet, clarinet, tenor saxophone)

B.M., Clarinet, Peabody Conservatory. Mr. Malloy has performed with the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, AIM Orchester in Graz Austria, and The Summer Opera Orchestra in Washington. D.C. In addition to his classical performing experience Mr. Malloy also records and performs with his Jazz group Tree House Quartet. He also composed recorded and performed with Boister, with whom he collaborated in producing original scores for four silent era films.

Steve Bloom: (congas, cajon, ashiko, bata, shakers, daf, tombak)

The Washington Post wrote that Steve Bloom has never met a rhythm he couldnt master. Bloom has gained a command of Cuban, Senegalese, and Nigerian drumming and song in three decades of apprenticing and performing with masters of these traditions, and Sufi practice and drumming with masters Adnan Sarhan of Baghdad, and Dr. Ali Analouei, from Esfahan, Iran.

Jon Seligman: bodhran, drum set, riqq

Jon Seligman leads the percussion department at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, teaching lessons, pedagogy, ensemble and world music classes. His performing and recording credits include Global Percussion Trio, Mahbood Len Seligman, Michael Formaneks Minor Infractions Ensemble, Tim Jenkins, and the Christopher James Band. In 2003, Jon Seligman was awarded a Maryland State Arts Council Grant for Jazz Composition. His latest original music CD, Quintet Music (2010), features Dave Ballou, Bruce Swaim, Harry Appelman and Jeff Reed.



Written By: Roya Bahrami

From the album 'I Am I Am Not' released November 2010. Lyrics based on a poem by Rumi (13th c. mystical poet, in Persian)

The essence translated by Roya and recited in an introductory piece on the same album called 'Moon & Musician'.

The metaphor of moon is used by Rumi to identify the musician as an enlightened being that he wants to engage in a conversation about the spiritual dimension of life - the place between being and not being.

Moonstruck Musician!
Tell us about what you've seen,
Where have you been?!
We are all family, you can confide in us!
Tell us, tell us about what you've heard!
Tell us, tell us about what you've seen!

I Am I Am Not

Written By: Roya Bahrami

Here's the essence of Roya's lyrics that are sung in Persian, translated to English and included in the CD I Am I Am Not liner notes:

Don't ask who I am, I Am and I Am Not.
Am I awake? Or, am I dreaming?
Oh so suddenly I woke up and stood up.
With such dizziness I had to sit back down.
Dreaming of being awake I had to close my eyes!
You are my destiny. You are the sun that brings me light.
Stay with me my Moon!
Am I awake? Or, am I dreaming?


Written By: Roya Bahrami

The essence of Roya's lyrics that is sung in Persian translated to English and included in the I Am I Am Not CD liner notes:

Ocean: carry me to top of the cliffs, so the wind would carry my words to that land.
I am singing for her. I am standing here for her.
In this familiar land, I am at times a stranger.
So many moments are but illusions.
Familiar fragrance of a flower, the smell of earth, a foggy day.
Familiar taste of pomegranate, the smell of Jasmine, a starry night.
These nostalgic moments filled with joy carry me back to Iran.


Written By: Roya Bahrami

Based on a poem by the contemporary Persian poet from Iran: Fereydoon Moshiri, which is an ode to Spring where the poet invites us to enjoy the beauty of season and that it would be such a shame if we didn't.

The Beloved

Written By: Roya Bahrami

Based on poems of 13th century Persian sufi poet, Mowlana Rumi.
Translations by Roya Bahrami & Jonathan Starr.
The essence of the lyrics are recited in English in the track: "Longing"

How I loved the pain of longing for you
and when I reached you, I lost interest in everything and everyone else..
Look at me! I have now returned from the visit with The Beloved:
I have come to you with compassion, joyfully, detached from all earthly needs..
It has taken me thousands of years to speak the Truth!

I was dead and now I'm alive
I was in tears and now I'm laughing
The power of love swept over my soul
and I've become that Eternal Power!


Written By: Roya Bahrami

Based on a poem by contemporary Persian poet of nature and humanitarian messages, Sohrab Sepehri. Translated to English by Roya Bahrami and recited in the introductory piece "On The Path".

Someday I shall come and I shall bring a message..
I shall come to pour light into your veins!
I shall come and bring a stem of jasmine for the beggar
I shall plant flowers on top of every wall
I shall walk
I shall love
I shall eat light
Someday I shall come
to pour light
into your veins..


"I Am I Am Not" - November 2010
Featured on Top-10 World chart of various radio stations for many consecutive weeks. Features Roya Bahrami's original compositions and arrangements. Inspired by the ancient Persian mystical notion of “selflessness” as well as the “incredible closeness of beings living in a multicultural world”, she features her ensemble in an all acoustic recording. A seamless blend of Persian, flamenco, Latin, and jazz! Lyrics are based on Persian poetry of Rumi, Sohrab Sepehri, Fereydoon Moshiri, and Roya Bahrami, including introductory pieces with poetic translation of the lyrics recited in English and accompanied by the ensemble.

"Roya" - August 2007
Inspired by the timeless wisdom of Persian poets Rumi, Hafez, and Sepehri and by the Persian roots of flamenco, this album features the sounds of Roya's Persian santur. The compilation includes Persian spiritual and classical music blended with Western elements and introduces a new genre, Persian-Flamenco, a fusion of Persian melodies and poetry with flamenco rhythms and harmonies. Roya sings and plays all the instruments: Persian santur (hammered dulcimer), the great-grandparent of the piano; the Iranian daf and zarb (hand drums); and the keyboards for synthesized instruments. The album, which is a compilation of her original compositions, debuted on the Top-10 world charts of a number of radio stations in Canada and the U.S. CD Baby Editor's Pick in Persian Contemporary category since the release date.