Mahsa Vahdat

Mahsa Vahdat is an award-winning , prominent  Iranian singer, composer  and cultural activist dedicated to both her personal lifelong musical and artistic path and the greater cause of freedom of expression. Her artistic work has offered audiences around the globe a deeper appreciation of Iranian poetry and music.

Born in 1973 in Tehran, she received her B.A. in Music from the Tehran University of Arts and learned Persian traditional music with different masters .Since 1995 she has performed as an independent singer and musician in many concerts and festivals in the world . She  appeared on stage with her sister Marjan Vahdat in many concerts .

Mahsa Vahdat with her profound command and vision on Persian music treasury  has developed a highly personal  style of performance, rooted in Persian classical and regional vocal music traditions  and complex system of modes, melodic motives , and ornamentation  infused with contemporary  and innovative expressions and influences.

Her many performance and recording projects include collaborations with many of the world’s most acclaimed musicians including  Marjan Vahdat ,Mighty Sam McClain, Kronos Quartet, Tord Gustavson, Atabak Elyasi , Teatr Zar, SKRUK Choir , Kitka and countless others. Through creative dialogues with her collaborators, and explorations as an unaccompanied soloist, she has developed a diverse, unique, and wide-ranging repertoire.Creative dialogue has been the core of her artistic path .

Following her participation in the album Lullabies from the Axis of Evil (2004), Mahsa together with her sister Marjan  started a long lasting collaboration with the Norwegian record label Kirkelig Kulturverksted (KKV) and Norwegian producer and poet Erik Hillestad .This collaboration led to a worldwide release of a series of award wining and critically acclaimed records.

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.

For Mahsa, artistic practice, creative freedom, and humanitarian principles are closely intertwined. She is an extremely effective cultural worker who utilizes the emotive power of her voice to raise awareness of suffering and injustice in the world, while simultaneously delivering messages of  hope, beauty and transparency.

In  2007 Mahsa was chosen as   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 .

She has  contributed  to the empowerment of women by encouraging them to give voice to their life experiences and she has been a role model for many young Iranian female singers in the complex socio-Political environment of post-Islamic Revolution Iran .

 

 

 

Reviews

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

http://musicwebshop.com

 

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.

Lira.se

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

worldmusiccentral.org

 

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

http://rootstime.be

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

http://worldmusiccentral.org

Mahsa Vahdat interview in Turkish and English in Cazkolik Radio

http://cazcolik.com

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

https://www.songlines.co.uk/awards/2020

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

www.kkv.no

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 .

Lira

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.

Rootsworld

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

Rootstime

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.

Lira

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 .

Froots

 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 .

Qantara

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.

standard

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.

Folker

My Voice is my home

The Autumn Salon

Upcoming concerts and vocal workshops

Harold Miossi Hall

28/10/2021

Kronos quartet and special guest  Mahsa Vahdat

Calpolyarts.org

Asia Society New York

06/11/2021

My voice is My Home

Mahsa Vahdat with Bridget Kibbey and Shane Shanahan

asiasociety.org

Zellerbach hall /Berkeley/California/US

02/12/2021

Kronos Quartet with Special guest Mahsa Vahdat

calperformances.org

Noe Valley Ministry /San Francisco

20/03/2022

Mahsa Vahdat ,Briget Kibbey,and John Hadfield

noemusic.org

Discography

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.

 

 

Listen

www.kkv.no

Placeless

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

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Tidal

Photos

 

 

Videos