Jostojoo Forever Seeking
Mamak Khadem is a classically trained Persian singer who has studied her art extensively in both Iran and the United States. The lead singer of the cross-cultural Persian fusion ensemble Axiom of Choice, she has performed in many venues, including the Skirball Cultural Center, the Greek Theater, the Smithsonian Museum, and the House of Culture (Berlin), as well as at many festivals, including the Voices of Women Festival (Greece), and the World Festival of Sacred Music - Los Angeles. She has been a featured performer on numerous film and television scores, including those for the feature films "The Peacemaker", "Traffic", and "Dracula 2000," and "The Profiler", "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and "Battlestar Galactica" TV series. She has also recorded with Turkish singer Omar Faruk Tekbilek on the album Alif, with Jamshied Sharifi on A Prayer For The Soul Of Layla, and with Tulku on Season of Souls (later compiled on the Buddha-Bar series. Mamak also sang the music composed by Eve Beglarian in the production of the 'Libation Bearers' directed by Lee Breuer at Patras Festival in Greece. In her new solo recording "Jostojoo" (Forever Seeking), produced by Jamshied Sharifi, she aims to create music that is deeply connected to the Persian classical and folk music she has studied most of her life, but liberated from dogmatic considerations of form, instrumentation, and lyrical content. Inspired by Mamak's travels throughout the Middle East, the music is based on melodies from not only various regions in Iran, but from related musical cultures that share similar tenets and timbres. Mamak adapts Persian poetry to carefully chosen melodies from her country's folk and classical repertoire. The roots of her work are in the soil of tradition; it's diverse melodic sources branch out across time periods to create a canopy of fresh interpretations. Jamshied contributes arrangements that respect the origin of the melodies, but look afield to orchestrations both simple and rich. He adds to this a production concept that adds breadth and depth to the essentially acoustic character of the recording. Musicians participating in the project include traditional performers from Iran and the Middle East, as well as world-aware instrumentalists living in the West.