Mazaar. Single from Iranian trio Niyaz, featuring A R Rahman.

So we happened to come across this band from Iran today morning – a trio comprising of music programmer/producer/DJ Carmen Rizzo (who has worked with a lot of big names in the industry; you MUST check out his album with Huun Huur Tu called Eternal), dulcimer player Azam Ali and her husband multi instrumentalist (most of them stringed folk ones) Loga Ramin Torkian. As you might have guessed, the band mixes folk (of the sufi kind, mostly) and electronica. After their first two albums in 2005 (Niyaz) and 2008 (Nine Heavens), they came out with their third album called Sumud this May. The album has some lovely arabic-flavored music, but most importantly for us, it has a song that features A R Rahman as guest vocalist! No idea how this song went unnoticed in India. If nothing else the trivia factor should have qualified; this might be the only occasion ARR has recorded a track composed by another artist (there is no mention anywhere of ARR being involved in the composition of this song). Talking of the song, it sounds very Indian with a strong sindhubhairavi raga flavor, and might have easily passed off for one if not for Azam Ali’s ethereal voice. ARR is heard joining in occasionally with high pitched sufi chants, something he has always excelled in doing. The sarangi-like instrument is Loga’s guitarviol (bowed guitar) I am guessing. The song is apparently a very old Afghan song, related to the city of Mazar e Sharif, possibly a work of Rumi. If you are looking for what is the connecting link between Niyaz and Rahman, Carmen Rizzo was remixer for the ARR-Dido song from 127 hours, If I Rise.
Below is the song anyway. You can download the complete album here. If you would like to try out another song, below the video is another one that has been made available for free download.


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