By: Trends Editorial Team
Please introduce yourself, describe your musical backgrounds and include details about your band.
My name is Omid Azak, and I was born on May 12, 1986, in Malayer. My musical journey started in 2011 when I attended the late Mohammadreza Lotfi’s Radif analysis courses. Later, I had the honour of learning from other classical music visionaries including Ali-Asghar Shahzeydi, Ali Akbar Golpa, Ali Jahandar and Mehran Mehrnia for vocal lessons, Bahram Saed, Maryam Tazhdeh, Ehsan Emami, Mohamad Ahmadvand and my first tar instructor Mostafa Haj-Amini.
Mehr band was founded in 2021 on my initiative, with the aim of promoting Persian classical music. The band line-up comprises the following
- Omid Azak: vocalist and band leader
- Ahmad Navabi: kamancheh
- Farshad Malmir: santur
- Vahid Taheri: bass guitar
- Ehsan Sadeghi: tonbak, daf and percussion instruments
What made you gravitate towards Persian traditional music? Which artists inspired you to make Persian music?
The genre, particularly Persian vocal styling, has always been compelling to me. I recall listening to master Mohammadreza Shajarian’s celestial voice as a child because of my father’s fascination with Persian music.
These captivating tunes, which encapsulated the essence of Persian classical music, drew me to courses, performances, and festivals, where I garnered awards and acclaim.
What is your assessment of the current state of Iran’s traditional music? What are the main challenges for this genre?
With various bands constantly emerging, Persian music is thriving. Despite this growth, however, there has been little support for up-and-coming bands and musicians from the public and private sectors.
What actions and initiatives have Iran Music House and the Ministry of Culture taken in support of the genre and how should these contributions expand?
Such institutions are unable to assist the musical community without adequate funding. Iran Music House doesn’t live up to the promise of its name since as far as I know, it is supported by funding from its members. Iran’s music scene is different from more advanced societies, where music enjoys extensive state support. However, some great strides have been made towards this aim, including the foundation of a credit fund for artists, and providing them with insurance coverage. Culture and art are the pillars of a growing, dynamic society and the ministry of Culture is assigned the task of creating a space where they can flourish.
To what do you attribute the global appeal of Persian traditional music? Are you planning any international performances?
People are drawn to traditional and classic music. When it comes to Persian music, they like to get a feel of the instruments that recount the rich history of a civilization which has seen days of magnificence and glory. For my overseas performances, I aspire to present a blend of different art forms. For example, Naqqali, or Iranian dramatic storytelling, and music would not only mesh together perfectly, but the combination could introduce ShahNameh to the world.
If you are looking for more Iranian artistic group, this link will help you.
Which of your albums or songs do you consider the most successful? What is your greatest professional achievement?
Of all my works, I would call the cover version of “Shod Khazan” the most successful. Originally recorded by Javad Badizadeh in 1934, the song remains popular over 80 years later. This cover, produced in collaboration with Hossein Behroozinia and Kambiz Ganjei, was released on December 31, 2018, to commemorate the anniversary of the singer’s passing.
The highlight of my career would be winning first place in the second Iraj Bastami Music Festival, held in 2015.
Please provide an example of a challenge you faced and explain how you overcame it.
I recall one occasion when we were scheduled for a late-night performance on Bahamestan show, aired from Jame Jam TV, when defying fatigue, we delivered an outstanding performance.
Do you have any additional thoughts or messages?
I would like to thank you and hope that we can reach international audiences to create a broader understanding of our art and culture.