Mahsa Vahdat

Mahsa Vahdat is a prominent performer of Persian vocal music and strong advocate of freedom of expression in music. 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 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.

Mahsa Vahdat also gives singing lessons and workshops to young women from Iran and other countries.

Reviews

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

Her warm and harmonious voice …. incorporates the beauty of Persian classical music.

Yabangee

I recommend sitting down, placing a glass of wine within reach, closing your eyes and listening. Here sings a great voice!

WOXX Magazine

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

 

Upcoming concerts

Uppsala Konserthus, Sweden

21/10/2018

CURIOUS CLASSICS: MAHSA & MARJAN VAHDAT

destinationuppsala.se

Molen de Ster, Utrecht, Netherlands

26/10/2018

Molen de Ster

De X @ Qbus, Leiden, Netherlands

27/10/2018

De X

Theaters Tilburg, Tilburg, Netherlands

28/10/2018

Theaters Tilburg

Cosmopolite ,Oslo World music festival

02/11/2018

Kronos Quartet with Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat

osloworld.no

Zankel Hall,Carnegie Hall ,New York,US

08/02/2019

With Kronos Quartet

songkick.com

Weill Hall,Green music center,Sonoma state university

09/05/2019

with Kronos Quartet

songkick.com

Discography

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