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“[NIYAZ] an evolutionary force in contemporary Middle Eastern music” – The Huffington Post
— The Fourth Light Project combines music inspired by traditional Middle Eastern songs with electroacoustic elements, sacred dance performances with the participation of a dervish dancer, interactive technologies, and cutting-edge projection and body-mapping techniques.
AUDIENCE AT THE HEART OF THE PERFORMANCE
Alliance between digital staging and live music, the resulting new genre experience creates a three-dimensional illusionist atmosphere that eliminates the distance between the performers and the audience, providing an unparalleled narrative and multisensory experience.
“The Fourth Light Project works. […] it’s a standing ovation guaranteed.” – Anisa Meddi, Filmmaker
The visual aspects of the show were brought into play by the renowned Montreal visual artist, Jérôme Delapierre, who collaborated with various artists, researchers and companies such as Cirque du Soleil, Cœur de pirate, DJ Champion, and Alex Nevsky.
He has masterfully created a brand new program that projects images ranging from architectural landscapes to the most distant constellations on a giant screen and on transparent panels positioned in front and behind the musicians. Thanks to a never-seen interactive mapping technique, images move across the stage to the rhythm of the steps of Tanya Evanson – one of the rare women dervish dancers – with vocal inflections through the sublime voice of Azam Ali inspired by the 8th century writings of Rabia Al Basri, poet and first female Sufi ascetic saint, and with the movements of the musicians on stage.
“The Fourth Light [album], they continue to mine medieval Sufi Muslim poetry as well as instruments and songs from across the Middle East. With electronic beats, they create a swirling, whirling palette of colors fronted by Ali’s rich and precise voice.”– NPR Music
Azam Ali, vocals | Loga R. Torkian, electric kamaan and Lafta | Sinan C, kaval, kopuz | Ravi Naimpally, tabla | Stéphane Gervais, keyboards and electronics | Tanya Evanson, Sufi Whirlin | Will Young, visual artist
Niyaz was founded in 2004 by Azam Ali (voice, percussion and santour) et de Loga Ramin Torkian (multi-instrumentalist). The Iranian couple and their child lived in Montreal for about a decade, then moved to California to compose soundtracks for movies and television. Between solo projects, four albums have followed.
Niyaz’s music is focused on the enchanting voice of Iranian born, Indian raised Azam Ali. Twice nominated for prestigious JUNO awards, she worked on many Hollywood film and television soundtracks such as The Matrix – Revolutions, Prince of Persia, Thor – The Dark World, True Blood, Alias and Prison Break.
JUNO-nominated multi-instrumentalist and composer, Loga Ramin Torkian is internationally recognized as a visionary in his field for his mastery in fusing classical Persian repertoire with modern composition. He created the very first quarter-tone guitar with moving frets which allowed him to develop new techniques, melodies and traditional Iranian music using his own musical expression and unique compositions. Highly sought after by many Hollywood filmmakers (Mychael Danna, Harry Gregson Williams, Hans Zimmer et Ramin Djawdi), Loga composed original soundtracks for the films Body of Lies, Iron Man and Prince of Persia, among others.
THE FOURTH LIGHT
Recorded in Montreal and Istanbul, The Fourth Light (Six Degrees Records, 2015) features the duo’s original songs, to which Turkish, Afghan and Iranian pieces are added, on an intriguing mix of exotic rhythms and exceptional acoustic performances, without forgetting the bewitching melancholy of Azam Ali’s voice.
From many perspectives, The Fourth Light is feminist album. The songs are inspired by Rabia Al Basri, poet and first female Sufi ascetic, born in the 8th century where Iraq is today. Enslaved at a young age, Rabia was able to thwart destiny and find the inner strength and determination that led to her liberation as a woman and then as a spiritual symbol.