Music listings – 4/16 through 4/22

1. The New York Arabic Orchestra – Spring Concert And Fund Raiser

Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Time: 8:00pm
Venue: Florence Gould Hall (of the French Institute Alliance Française, 55 E 59th St, NY, NY 10022)
Genre: Arabic Classical music

The New York Arabic Orchestra is the home of contemporary and classical Arabic music in America. The orchestra, based in the New York metropolitan area, is an Arabic music institution of performance and education co-founded in 2007 by Bassam Saba, a world renowned multi-instrumentalist virtuoso, conductor and teacher of Arabic music; and April Centrone, the orchestra’s lead percussionist. The orchestra brings together a culturally diverse group of musicians around a common passion: Arabic Music.

The 35-piece New York Arabic Orchestra presents contemporary instrumental compositions by Bassam Saba, along with selections of Arabic vocal and instrumental music of Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. The NYAO is comprised of the oud (Arabic lute), nay (Arabic reed flute), qanun (Arabic zither), Arabic percussion, strings, woodwinds, lead vocalists and chorus. Known throughout the U.S. and abroad as one of Arabic music’s finest conductors, Bassam Saba has led the NYAO to prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and has developed an authentic sound that is regarded around the world.

“Food Will Win the War explores a space largely unexplored even in Brooklyn’s dense music scene. There’s a delicate balance in this music between the fun of surrealist fantasy and the acceptance of life’s realities.” – The Deli Magazine

2. Mohammad Reza Shajarian & SHAHNAZ ENSEMBLE

Date: Friday, April 20, 2012
Time: 8:00pm
Venue: Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036, 212-840-2824)
Tickets: $40, $45,  $55, $60 and $65
Genre: Persian Classical Music

Exactly tow months ago at the same venue Homayoun Shajarian, who is the son of Mohammad Reza Shajarian –  the grand master vocalist of traditional Persian music – and is a renowned Persian classical music vocalist, as well as a tombak and kamancheh player. (Read concert review here). This week is his father’s turn to perform great Persian Classical vocal music.

Two times Grammy nominated Mohammad Reza Shajarian will perform accompanied by Shahnaz Ensemble. He and members of the ensemble will perform pieces inspired by legendary Persian poets Hafez and Rumi, directed by Majid Derakhshani. This concert is a part of the group’s tour of the U.S.


Shajarian the music activist

After Iranian notorious presidential election on 12 June 2009, the legendary singer sided with the Iranian people. When Iranian unpopular president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad referred to the protests as “dust and trash”, Shajarian participated in a telephone interview with BBC Persian channel and referred to himself and his voice as the voice of dust and trash: “It is the voice of dust and trash and it will always ramain the voice of dust and trash.” He also asked IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) to stop broadcasting his songs. He metioned that his famous song “Iran, Ey Saraye Omid” (Iran, the land of Hope), has no relation with the current situation of his country.


Mohammad Reza Shajarian (born September 23, 1940 in Mashhad, Iran) is an internationally and critically acclaimed Persian traditional singer, composer and ostad (master) of Persian music., Shajarian is also known for his skills in Persian calligraphy, and humanitarian activities.

Shajarian has collaborated with Parviz Meshkatian, Mohammad Reza Lotfi, Hossein Alizadeh, and Faramarz Payvar. He is recognised as skilled singer in the challenging traditional Dastgah style. In 1999 UNESCO in France presented him with the Picasso Award.

Early work

Shajarian studied singing at the early age of five under the supervision of his father, and at the age of twelve, he began studying the traditional classical repertoire known as the Radif. Shajarian started his singing career in 1959 at Radio Khorasan, rising to prominence in the 1960s with his distinct style of singing. Since then his career has included teaching at Tehran University’s Department of Fine Arts, working at National Radio and Television, researching Iranian music, and making numerous recordings.

Music Groups

Shajarian has not always been in music groups, but he currently does the vocals for the Masters of Persian Music with his son Homayoun Shajarian, as well as two other ostads, Keyhan Kalhor and Hossein Alizadeh.

Significant Works

  • Raast-Panjgaah concert with Mohammad Reza Lotfi in Raast-panjgaah (1976).
  • Be yaad e Aaref with Mohammad Reza Lotfi in Bayaat e Turk (1986).
  • Sepideh Album with Mohammad Reza Lotfi and the Sheydaa Ensemble in Maahoor.
  • Bidaad with Parviz Meshkatian and the Aref Ensemble in Homaayoun (1985).
  • Aastaan e Jaanaan with Parviz Meshkatian and Naaser Farhangfar in Sur (1982).
  • Nava – Morakkab Khani with Parviz Meshkatian and the Aref Ensemble in Navaa, Se-gaah and Dashti (1986).
  • Dastan with Parviz Meshkatian and the Aref Ensemble in Chahaar-Gah (1987).
  • Cheshmeye Noush with Mohammad Reza Lotfi in Raast-panjgaah.
  • Shab, Sokoot, Kavir with Keyhan Kalhor based on the folk music of Khorasan (2000).
  • Without you with the Masters Ensemble in Navaa and Bayaat e Kord (2002).
  • Faryaad with the Masters Ensemble in Raast-panjgaah (2003).
  • Eshgh Daanad with Mohammad Reza Lotfi in Aboo Ataa (1981).
  • Chehre be Chehre with Mohammad Reza Lotfi in Navaa (1977).
  • Serr-e-Eshgh with Parviz Meshkatian and Mohammad Mousavi in Maahoor.
  • Doud-e-Oud with Parviz Meshkatian and the Tehran Symphonic Orchestra in Navaa (1987).
  • Zemestaan Ast with Hossein Alizadeh and Keyhan Kalhor in Maahoor and Homaayoun (1999).
  • Dar Khiaal with Majid Derakhshani in Segaah (1995).


Shajarian studied with the ostads Esmaeil Mehrtash and Ahmad Ebadi, and learned the vocal styles of singers from previous generations, including Reza Gholi Mirza Zelli,Fariborz Manouchehri, Ghamar Molouk Vaziri, Eghbal Azar , and Taj Isfahani. He started playing the santour under the instruction of Jalal Akhbari in order to better understand and perform the traditional repertoire, and in 1960, he became the pupil of Faramarz Payvar. He studied under the guidance of master Abdollah Davami, from whom he learned many early Persian songs. Abdollah Davami also passed on to Shajarian his own interpretation of the Radif.

Bam Art Garden Project

After the 2003 Bam earthquake, Shajarian initiated a project to help the people of Bam. He also performed concerts in support of people of Bam.

Awards and Distinctions

  • Nushin medal (2008)
  • The UNESCO award – the UNESCO Mozart Medal(2006)
  • Nominated for Grammy award in Best World Music (2006)
  • Nominated for Grammy award in Best World Music (2004)
  • Iran’s best classical vocalist (2000)
  • Golden Picasso Medal (1999), one of UNESCO’s highest honors
  • National radio and television golden cup (1977)
  • Prize presented by Turkish parliament speaker (1976)

3. The Broadcast w. Food Will Win The War

Date: Saturday, April 21, 2012
Time: 10:30pm
Venue: Mercury Lounge (217 East Houston St., New York, NY 10002)
Price: $12
Genre: nu soul/accoustic-folk rock

With powerful and soulful melodies, poly rhythmic grooves and an uncanny ability to connect with listeners it’s no wonder The Broadcast has audiences across the country entranced. Originally formed in Brooklyn, NY in 2007, this young, six-piece soul infused rock band is known for their tight, high-energy performances that have vaulted them into the national spotlight.

The Broadcast draws influences from the funky and soulful “Motown Sound” and the raw vocal prowess of singers such as Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin. Platinum blonde, Caitlin Krisko, whose commanding and captivating voice has been compared to the likes of Adele and Grace Potter, fronts the band with a prowess not often found in vocalists her age.

Food Will Win the War is accordion-infused, violin-tinged glockenspiel rock. Their new album, A False Sense of Warmth, features appearances by Judah Dadone (Freelance Whales) on synthesizers and was produced by Jeremy Sklarsky (Weather Vanes, Freelance Whales) and mastered by Sarah Register (Wincing the Night Away, The Shins, Talking Through Tin Cans, The Morning Benders).