March 2007

Reza Derakshani | A night of Persian fusion
presented bySmall World
March 30, 2007Lula LoungeToronto
Take one part sultry hypnotic music, add images of a desert, hookah and sultan's tent and get stirred!
by Laila Boulos with photo by Mike Colyer

It was the beginning of the evening for Reza Derakshani's second visit to Toronto and the gorgeous Lula Lounge was steadily filling up with a respectful and soon-to-be mesmerized audience.

On his last visit, Reza (as he prefers to be known) was touring with ex-Doors drummer John Densmore. For this visit, he was being backed by Toronto's globally-influenced Beatmap; composed of Alan Davis on drum kit and dharbuka, Neil Gardiner on keys, Amin Karmeghar guesting on percussion and Reza Moghaddas on bass.

The synergy between Reza and Beatmap was so effortless and hypnotic that it was difficult to believe they had only played together for less than a week. As an audience member taking in the energy between the players, it was evident how respectful they were of each other and how they were just grooving along to the beauty and passion of the exotic rhythms while managing to make their accomplished playing seem effortless. As a result, the audience was willingly being swept away on a magic carpet ride by the passion-soaked melodies throughout the performance.

Reza draws upon diverse influences with which he infuses his primarily Persian music, influences such as rock, blues and jazz, creating a mystical aural mosaic. This evening's musical journey flowed between the haunting percussion of the dharbuka on songs such as "Ahoo", with its hypnotic, trance-inducing rythms and the soul-stirring guitar strains of the rock-drenched "Shahnaz" while carrying the audience on a musical adventure that touched upon many pleasant surprises in between.

During the course of the evening, a few people in the audience were singing along so passionately to many of the pieces that it was evident they were filled with the emotion of the lyrics. For others in the crowd who could not comprehend any of the words, the lyrics were irrelevant but the sensually haunting melodies were so powerful that comprehension of the words almost was not required.

Reza Derakshani

The magic of the evening was further enhanced as Reza, an extremely talented writer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who easily could have let his ego get in the way of his music or his backing band, but instead he chose to let the music take centre stage. He is an amazingly accomplished and gifted artist, playing the tar, setar, kemancheh and ney in addition to an electric guitar, which Reza himself customized in order to be able to play it on Persian pieces.

One song that brought enthusiastic participation from the audience and shouts of joy as they clapped along, was “The Moonlight”, a folk song which Reza has reworked. Another piece that had the same stirring effect on the crowd as they again sang and clapped along was “Boland Bala”. Reza played this song in Tehran 3 years ago and had to rework the lyrics as the authorities there refused to let him play it, feeling it was inappropriate! This song, Reza chose for the one-song encore for which the crowd managed to pull them back on stage.

Just taking in the diverse crowd who came out to hear Reza perform, it was evident that his sensuously-sultry music has crossed cultural and language barriers as well as borders, awakening the hearts of fans while perking up and exciting their ears.

As for the up-and-coming Beatmap who so effortlessly accompanied Reza on this sensual musical voyage, we are certainly keeping our ears open for surprises in the works from this very talented, warm and hypnotic group.

Sadly for the concert-goers that evening, as they say: all good things must come to an end. And that evening's performance came to a close much too quickly for a crowd not yet ready to leave although the journey was wonderfully magical carrying the audience to far away places evocative of hookah pipes, sultans' tents and the desert. Add all of those images to the passionate, percussion-drenched melodies provided by Reza and Beatmap, and one could not help but get stirred!

We welcome your comments and feedback
Laila Boulos
• • • • • •
Mike Colyer
• •
The Live Music Report

| Home | Archives | CD Reviews | Photo Galleries | Concert Listings | Contact |

Please contact us to secure permission for use of any material found on this website.
© The Live Music Report – 2007