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Niyaz and Ulas Ozdemir

Ulas Ozdemir plays and sings with Niyaz, in their latest album "Nine Heaves"...

About the album:

By any measure, Niyaz has come very far, very fast. The trio`s 2005 debut featured a convincing blend of Sufi mysticism and trance electronica, and quickly established them as a standout ensemble in a very crowded world music field. A worldwide tour followed. Now, Niyaz returns with Nine Heavens, which doesn`t just cross cultural and stylistic boundaries, but the centuries as well. Drawing on medieval Persian poetry and 300-year old Persian folk songs, Niyaz has created a 21st century global trance tradition.

This may seem like a tall order for a band that`s barely three years old - until you realize who these musicians are. Vocalist Azam Ali co-founded the best-selling world music duo Vas in 1996; her unmistakable voice has graced numerous recordings and major film scores. Loga Ramin Torkian is a multi-instrumentalist whose group Axiom of Choice brought the ancient sounds of Persian classical music to Western listeners in the 1990s. And producer Carmen Rizzo, a multiple Grammy nominee, has worked with Coldplay, Seal, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and many others. Small wonder then that the trio hit the ground running with its self-titled debut. Now, with Nine Heavens, Niyaz breaks new ground in a two-disc format: the first is an adventurous, spiritual exploration of the ties that bind Persian, Indian, Turkish, and Western dance music. The second is the same set of songs, in a purely acoustic setting.

Nine Heavens begins with the irresistible “Beni Beni," which marries an 18th century Turkish Sufi poem to a traditional Turkish folk song and some beautifully integrated electronics and programming. “It`s a modern kind of Sufi music," Azam explains. “Both Loga and I are influenced by Turkish music, and there are many connections between Turkey and Iran." The steady, trance rhythms support layers of Turkish and Persian lutes, all topped by a new instrument known as the kamman, a larger, lower-pitched version of the traditional Persian fiddle.