PRESS RELEASE: THIRTEEN/EIGHT MOHSEN NAMJOO & ENSEMBLE LIVE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press contact Bita Shafipour
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THIRTEEN/EIGHT MOHSEN NAMJOO & ENSEMBLE LIVE
Los Angeles, CA March 27, 2012 - Payam Entertainment presents Thirteen/Eight: Mohsen Namjoo and Ensemble Live in Los Angeles, Sunday May 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm at the Orpheum Theatre 842 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA. Tickets at www.Ticketmaster.com.
Thirteen/eight is a compilation of six pieces by Mohsen Namjoo which were developed in the United States during the past year. The performance has been prepared in collaboration with California-based musicians James Riotto (Contrabass), Robert Shelton (Keyboard), Ezra Lipp (Drums) and Greg Ellis (Percussion). Payam Entertainment produced a series of live performances for 2012. The inaugural performance in Berkeley, California will be recorded in preparation for a future double-album release by the same title.
“Among Iranian musicians, irregular rhythms are referred to as ‘limping rhythms’. Mainly characterized by structural imbalance, the 13/8 time signature is among the most difficult of the limping rhythms in the music of the region”, says Mohsen Namjoo. “In the limping form, there is always a beat missing, or a beat extra. The limping style does not possess the symmetric structure of the dance music which elicits so much pleasure in dancers at wedding parties or in certain kinds of nightclubs”. He adds “for me, this lack of balance or limping always symbolizes the constant instability of modern day life; a lack of confidence in there, being solid ground beneath our feet when we step out in our daily lives. The limping structure symbolizes falling out of step with the rhythm of everyday living, and the ever present fear of being thrown out of the party of life—just for dancing with a limp!”.
Thirteen/Eight is based on a research project including three pieces in which Mohsen Namjoo has fused the Iranian musical scales of "Shour", "Chargah" and "Rast-Panj-gah" with Jazz. Two other tracks titled "Khat Bekesh" and "13/8" have been inspired by music from Frank Sinatra and Igor Stravinsky respectively. These are based on the "Segah" scale and the "Isfahan" vocal renditions. Both of these musical renditions are based on poetry by Mohsen Namjoo with themes pertaining to the futility of people's (Iranians') hope in the concept of the ‘saviour’ who shall one day appear and restore a free homeland for them. Through his innovative use of literature and sonic effects, Namjoo challenges those ethereal hopes which are in his view as tragic as comic. The second component of Thirteen/Eight is comprised of a solo performance with Setar and vocal renditions inspired by Iranian Ethnic songs.
Thirteen/Eight is a unique performance that contrasts the Western musical traditions with those of the East, particularly Iran. In his performance of Thirteen/Eight, Namjoo dwells deep within each of these traditions in search of enlightenment on the validity of the promise of Hope.
Payam Entertainment is proud to present Thirteen/Eight in Berkeley on Saturday April 28 at the Wheeler Hall, UC Berkeley and Los Angeles on Sunday May 20 at the Orpheum Theatre 842 S. Broadway, Los Angeles. A musical tour-de-force by a singular voice from Iran. Tickets for Thirteen/Eight are available at www.ticketmaster.com.
About Mohsen Namjoo
Mohsen Namjoo is an Iranian artist, songwriter, singer, music scholar and setar (traditional Persian lute) player based in California. Born in 1976 in Torbat-e Jam, Iran, Namjoo began his musical training at the age of twelve, studying under Nasrollah Nasehpoor until the age of eighteen. In 1994 Namjoo began to study Theater and Music at the University of Tehran, where he was trained under Alireza Mashayekhi, Azin Movahed and other masters. Namjoo also studied Iranian folk music under Haj Ghorbane Soleimani. His unique music style resembles a patchwork of Persian classical poetry of Hafez, Rumi or Saadi with western music, namely rock, blues, and jazz. Since 2003, Namjoo has recorded parts of his works in Tehran. His debut album titled Toranj was officially released in Iran in September 2007 with his own voice featured in most of his creations. He has also composed soundtracks for movies and plays, and was featured in the documentary Sounds of Silence (directed by Amir Hamz and Mark Lazarz) which has been screened at international film festivals. He also appeared in a feature narrative film called Few Kilograms of Dates for the Funeral (Director Saman Salur). Namjoo's first performance outside of Iran was in January 2006 at the Tehran Hotspot of the International Rotterdam Film Festival where he played solo. In 2009 he was sentenced in absentia to a five-year jail term by the Iranian revolutionary courts for allegedly ridiculing the ash-Shams, a sura of Qur'an in the song named "Shams" . The conviction took place in spite of his formal apology. After establishing in the West, he sang this song in his Oy album which was produced in Italy in 2009. In 2008 Namjoo kicked off his first solo US tour, which granted him the Visiting Artist Fellowship at Stanford University, co-sponsored by the Christina & Hamid Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies and the Music Department at Stanford. In 2010, Namjoo partnered with Payam Entertainment to present Namjoo in A Minor with a new ensemble centered around some of his most popular and controversial songs. They performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Sony Center in Toronto, Canada and the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. Payam Entertainment released Namjoo's latest album Useless Kisses in 2011, and Alaki in 2012, which live recording from a performance at the Stanford University in February 2011. In the fall of 2011, Namjoo joined the team of celebrated New Yorke based Iranian artist Shirin Neshat as the music director of her performance OverRuled, commissioned by the Performa 2011 Festival in New York City. He is currently working with the Iranian filmmaker, scholar and play write, Bahram Beyzai on his new project commissioned by Stanford University. Namjoo continues touring the world and creating new music. His new album entitled "Thirteen/Eight" is due in the fall of 2012. Hailed as “the Bob Dylan of Iran” by the New York Times, Mohsen Namjoo is a visionary artist who speaks for and touches the souls of today’s youth. Seamlessly blending the Classical with the Modern, the ancient with the current, Mohsen Namjoo is a true musical maverick.