Described by the Huffington Post as “an evolutionary force in contemporary Middle Eastern music”, Niyaz (which means “yearning”), defies most standards of world music and makes a bold statement to a global audience. Founded in 2004 by Iranian born, Indian raised vocalist/ composer Azam Ali, and Iranian multi-instrumentalist/ composer Loga R. Torkian, Niyaz has created a 21st century global trance tradition by seamlessly blending medieval Sufi poetry and ancient folk songs from their native Iran and its surrounding countries in the Persian Gulf, with rich acoustic instrumentation and state-of-the-art modern electronics.
Today with four best selling and critically acclaimed albums released on Six Degrees Records, all of which have debuted at #1 on iTunes and garnered the band an incredible amount of media attention including features on NPR, The BBC World, Huffington Post, MTV Iggy and PRI, Niyaz continues to tour internationally and build on its impressive and loyal fan base worldwide. Since 2005 Niyaz has performed in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, India, Russia, Poland, Dubai, Mexico, Finland, Slovenia, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Indonesia, Tunisia, Kazakhstan and Austria. Their music has also been featured in several major film and television scores, which include, True Blood, Bones, Nip Tuck and Crossing Over.
At the center of Niyaz’s music is the spellbinding voice of Iranian born, Indian raised, Azam Ali, a two time nominee of the prestigious Canadian JUNO Award whose otherworldly singing has been featured in many major Hollywood film and television soundtracks such as “The Matrix-Revolutions”, “Prince of Persia”, “Thor - The Dark World,” “True Blood,” "Alias,” and "Prison Break.” Azam has also released three critically acclaimed solo albums since 2002 and has collaborated with a wide range of artists such as Serj Tankian of System of a Down, the world renowned Japanese group Kodo, Zakir Hussain, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Mercan Dede, Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, The Crystal Method, Pat Mastellato and Trey Gunn of King Crimson, Dredg, Chris Vrenna formerly of Nine Inch Nails, Ben Watkins of Juno Reactor, Buckethead, Steve Stevens and Mickey Hart.
Niyaz co-founding member, Iranian multi-instrumentalist/ composer and JUNO Award nominee Loga Ramin Torkian, is internationally recognized as a visionary in his field for his unique ability to adapt the Persian classical repertoire to modern composition. He is credited for creating the first ever quarter-tone Guitar with movable frets which allowed him to apply many of the traditional Iranian techniques, melodies and ornamentation to his unique musical expression and compositions. Aside from his artistic achievements, Loga’s talents have also become sought after by many renowned film composers in Hollywood such as Mychael Danna, Harry Gregson Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Ramin Djawdi. His talents have been featured on major film scores which include “Body of Lies”, “Iron Man” and “Prince of Persia.”
On stage, Niyaz is comprised of three additional world-class musicians as well as a female Whirling Dervish. Together, the musicians of Niyaz harmoniously bring together traditional and modern instruments to create a sublime musical experience aimed at uniting people from different cultural and spiritual backgrounds through our shared humanity. In essence, Niyaz is best described as a Post-Modern Decolonial band. During a time of polarized ideologies between the East and the West, Niyaz conjures a bridge of understanding and mutual respect through music that takes the listener on a philosophical quest into the human depths. It is a journey filled with a message of hope against injustice and oppression, a universal tribute to beauty, cultural and spiritual diversity, freedom and dignity for all.
"It's a daring task to try and bridge the chasms between people," says Azam, but if we can make that happen even for the one hour that people are there just to listen to our music, then who's to say we did not triumph in our goal?"