NiyazPersian and Urdu for yearningis the musical brainchild of three musicians: top deejay, programmer/producer and remixer Carmen Rizzo, vocalist and hammered dulcimer player Azam Ali, formerly of the group Vas, and Loga Ramin Torkian of the popular Iranian crossover group Axiom Of Choice.
Azam was born in Iran but raised in India, where she started singing at an early age, absorbing the rich cultures of both countries. Her early music influences include the English soprano Emily Van Evera and singing-medieval- mystic-visionary-composer and abbess, Hildegard Von Bingen. Loga Ramin Torkian plays guitar, the saz, and rabab, while Carmen Rizzo does all the programming; keyboards, synthesizers and drums, as well as performing live with the group. On their new album for Six Degrees Records, Tony Levin of King Crimson plays bass along with other Indian and Armenian musical guests.
Niyaz is a mixture of old and new music styles. Their lyrics are drawn from Sufi mystics, such as the Persian poet Rumi, and other classic poetry sung in Urdu. Niyaz claims it for our times and gives it a modern expression.