Mahsa Vahdat

Mahsa Vahdat is a prominent performer of Persian vocal music and strong advocate of freedom of expression in music ,a dedicated singer and musician  in her musical path and artistic cause . Her career has given a deeper knowledge about Iranian poetry and music to large audiences in Europe, America, Asia, Oceania and Africa.

Mahsa has developed her personal style based on the Persian vocal tradition of classical and regional folk music, but with a contemporary expression. She has always searched for ways to make her music relevant to the present world. Even if the origin of her styles is Iranian, she believes in her music’s ability to express a universal message of humanism and freedom. Her collaboration with musicians from Iran and many other parts of the world has contributed to the development of her personal expression.

Mahsa was born October 29, 1973 in Tehran. She entered Tehran Arts University in 1993 and graduated with a B.A. in Music in 1995.
Since 1995 she has performed as an independent singer and musician in many concerts and festivals in Asia, Europe, America and Africa together with musicians from Iran, Europe and the US. She has also appeared on stage with her sister Marjan Vahdat in many concerts. In several of her recordings Marjan also has been involved.

Mahsa composes most of her songs herself, often with poems by classical Persian poets like Hafez and Rumi or contemporary ones like Fourogh Farokhzad and Mohammad Ibrahim Jafari. Her husband Atabak Elyasi who is a composer and also plays the Persian string instrument setar often takes part in the arranging of her music.
Without being visible in her own society because of restrictions of female solo voice after Islamic Revolution in 1979 in Iran, she and her sister Marjan Vahdat have continuous contact with a large audience who appreciates their art, both in Iran and abroad.

Following her participation in the album Lullabies from the Axis of Evil (2004), Mahsa started a long lasting collaboration with the Norwegian record label Kirkelig Kulturverksted (KKV) and its leader Erik Hillestad who has produced most of her albums. This collaboration led to a worldwide release of a series of award wining and critically acclaimed records and a number of tours and concerts in many countries.

Since 2007 Mahsa is one of the ambassadors of Freemuse Organization, an independent international organization that advocates freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide. In 2010, she was granted the Freemuse Award.

She has  developed a long and intense pedagogical experience in teaching classical Persian singing for years for Iranian and non Iranian Students  and led many projects with her students as mentor .


64 songs composed and performed by Mahsa Vahdat published by Cantando Musikkforlag with release on Music Freedom Day, March 3


On her new album, the Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat sings with the same passion, strength and obvious voice as always. Nothing can silence her. Once again a fantastic album by one of the greatest female singers of our time.

“Enlighten The Night ” New Album by Mahsa Vahdat  at the Top of the World Music Charts Europe in October 2020.


Mahsa Vahdat releases a profoundly Multi-Layered album for our time .She couldn’t have picked a better moment to release this austere, inspiring record. You will see this on the best albums of 2020 page in December if such a page can exist.

New York Music Daily

The voice of Mahsa is – as we have often said – the most striking, moving, passionate and credible that you will encounter in contemporary singing.Enlighten the Night is  a record that drips with its beauty and which provides a ray of light and hope

Mahsa Vahdat’s album “Enlighten the Night” at the top of transglobal world music chart for September 2020

Mahsa Vahdat interview in Turkish and English in Cazkolik Radio

The album “Placeless” (Kronos Quartet and Mahsa&Marjan Vahdat ) nominated by  Songlines magazine to the best fusion album in 2020.

The album “Placeless” (Mahsa&Marjan Vahdat and Kronos quartet) hits the world music charts

The mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has proclaimed 6th of Sept 2019 the “Mahsa Vahdat Day”.

Mahsa Vahdat Day

The Iran born singer Mahsa Vahdat has one of the most beautiful voices in the universe ,so intense ,so mystic ,so passionated that it can express the deepest longing ,sorrow and pain that exists .


Without even trying, Vahdat has taken the globe in her hands and sung it to sleep like a mother would her child, reminding us of just how infantile we are as a global community.


«….an unworldly beautiful record….a benevolent rain of heavenly sounds….Beauty per falling drop….»


Breathtaking, timeless, meditative – yes, powerful simply. The listener can only lean backwards, shut his eyes and receive – listen, ponder, breathe in – thousands of years of old wisdom and beauty.


Mahsa Vahdat has masterfully proven how it’s possible for Persian music to continue evolving

-Songlines Magazine

With a voice that is as rich as it is expressive, Mahsa Vahdat is certainly the gold standard for Iranian vocalists.

-World Music Central

This gently powerful performance showed why they have became ambassadors for Iranian culture.

The Guardian

Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat have sparkled their joyous nature out into the warmth of the Womad crowd ,their magical voices elevating us to a place of rapture far beyond politics .The crowd is won ever ,basking in the good humor and looking up to the women onstage as sunflowers look up to the sun .


 These are voices you listen to and follow, as if they were voices of the pre-monotheistic gods, ancient mythic music from the bicameral mind.

The Artdesk 

Mahsa Vahdat is not only one of the finest woman singers in Iran, she has also dedicated herself to the preservation of the female voice in classical Iranian music .


They have voices of raw silk that blend as only siblings can and create a powerful thread that draws you into the intense emotions of the songs.


what’s remarkable about the sisters is not just their quiet resilience,but the fact that they can bring that sense of liberation ,transcendence and beauty,to another audience entirely .

Songlines  ,Simon Broughton 

It could fill a whole lifetime, to represent an old and great culture, appreciated by everybody in the homeland and abroad, honored and heard by everybody.It could also fill a lifetime because the task is big, but the longing is even bigger. You can hear it from every tone, every part of her songs, a longing for life, for peace, for freedom.


My Voice is my home

The Autumn Salon

Upcoming concerts and vocal workshops

Frieght&Salvage/Jakob Church


Enlighten The Night

Transcontinent concert

Mahsa Vahdat & Tord Gustavsen ,Gjermund Silset



Vocal workshop with Mahsa Vahdat

Introduction to Persian vocal music

California Jazz  conservatory





two days of Persian Lullaby workshop with Mahsa&Marjan Vahdat

7&8 May 2021


Zoom platform


The poetic voice

Persian singing workshops with Mahsa Vahdat

supported by a grant from (ACTA) Alliance for California Traditional Art’s Living cultures program




Enlighten The Night

Enlighten the Night is arranged and composed by Atabak Elyasi and melodies are composed by Mahsa Vahdat.Three Norwegian musicians; pianist Tord Gustavsen, bass player Gjermund Silset and drummer Kenneth Ekornes have all taken part in previous albums of Mahsa Vahdat, and on her new album. they form a poetic and beautiful soundscape around Mahsa’s strong and expressionistic voice. Iranian Shervin Mohajer appears with his kamancheh on one track.The recording was done in Kulturkirken Jakob in Oslo, Norway by Martin Abrahamsen and produced by Erik Hillestad together with Atabak Elyasi.Texts belongs to contemporary and classical poets from Iran.





Kronos Quartet and Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat

Placeless is the first collaboration between the San Francisco–based Kronos Quartet and Iranian singers Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat. Placeless has 14 melodies that Mahsa Vahdat composed to classical poems by Hafez and Rumi and the works of contemporary Iranian poets Forough Farrokhzad, Mohammad Ibrahim Jafari and Atabak Elyasi. Composers Sahba Aminikia (Iran/US), Aftab Darvishi (Iran/ Netherlands), Jacob Garchik (US) and Atabak Elyasi arranged the songs for string quartet.


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Endless Path

Toghether with Coskun Karademir and Turkish and Iranian musicians. Poems by Rumi and Yunus Emre.

A strong spirituality from distant centuries, borne by stories, poems, melodies and images, comes alive in this project that is uniting the poets Rumi and Yunus Emre and the Norwegian visual artist Emanuel Vigeland.

KKV 2017


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The Sun Will Rise

A cappella album, recorded in authentic spaces in France, Spain, Norway, Poland and Turkey.

A cappella album with 21 songs performed by her solo voice only. Most of the songs are Mahsa’s own melodies composed to traditional and contemporary Persian poetry.

KKV 2016


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Traces of an old vineyard

WithTord Gustavsen (piano and electronics),Shervin Mohajer (Kamancheh) and Ali Rahimi (percussion).

The album contains Mahsa’s own melodies to poems by the classical Persian poets Khayyam, Hafez and Rumi. The musical idea of the album is to develop the beauty in Persian poetry and the vocal tradition within the framework of a playful meeting between Iranian contemporary instrumental music and a jazz pianist.

KKV 2015


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A Deeper Tone of Longing

Duets with Mighty Sam McClain, arranged by Knut Reiersrud.

KKV 2012


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Twinklings of Hope

Together with Marjan Vahdat and a Persian ensemble

“Daram Omidi – Twinklings of Hope”. Even if it does not get a formal and official release in Iran, it will find its way across continents to the many people who love the voices of Mahsa and Marjan and their music.

KKV 2012


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I vinens Speil

In the mirror of wine

Together with the Norwegian choir SKRUK and Tord Gustavsen (piano).

In the mirror of wine.Sufi poems by Rumi and Hafez, interpreted by Mahsa Vahdat and Erik Hillestad, and presented by SKRUK and Mahsa in arrangements by Tord Gustavsen.

KKV 2010


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Scent of Reunion

Duets with Mighty Sam McClain, arranged by Knut Reiersrud

Love knows no boundaries. Nothing on earth can stop lovers from reaching out to each other.

KKV 2009


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I am Eve

I am Eve

Together with Marjan Vahdat, arranged and produced by Atabak Elyasi.

KKV 2008


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Songs from a persian garden

Songs from a Persian Garden

Together with Marjan Vahdat and a Norwegian/Persian band led by Knut Reiersrud.

In a Persian garden in Tehran, the singers Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat broke the ban on public performances by women. The two sisters were accompanied by Knut Reiersrud and five other Norwegian and Iranian musicians.

KKV 2007


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Risheh dar khak (Rooted in the Soil)

Risheh dar khak

Rooted in the soil