Lively Arts Presents Two Outreach Events With Niyaz

Posted on 10/15/2019 4:32:50 PM

The Lively Arts is excited to present the next Ovations series group, Niyaz, in two outreach events on Monday, October 21. First up is a “Meet the Musicians” Q&A at noon in the main library, followed by a presentation titled “Feminism in the East” at 2:00 p.m. in McVitty Auditorium, Sprowls Hall.

Niyaz performingThe noontime outreach will be held in the Stapleton Library Commons, and is a terrific opportunity to meet the members of the group in a relaxed setting and ask them questions about their music, background, etc. They will also be playing and demonstrating some of their music. While it won’t be close to their full show, it will give the listener a glimpse into their 8:00 p.m. performance on October 22 in Gorell Recital Hall.

The subsequent 2:00 p.m. “Feminism in the East” presentation is being presented by the two founding members of the group, Asam Ali and Loga R. Torkian, and is a subject that is extremely important to them. As a woman who is Iranian-born and Indian-raised, Azam has a very real-world knowledge of what it is to not only be a woman in the Middle East, but to be a successful and prominent female musician. It is a topic that they regularly present on to bring an understanding to audiences what it is like to be a feminist in the Middle East.

Founded in 2004 by vocalist/composer Asam Ali and Iranian multi-instrumentalist/composer Loga R. Torkian, and described by the Huffington Post as “an evolutionary force in contemporary Middle Eastern music,” Niyaz seamlessly blends medieval Sufi poetry and ancient folk songs from their native Iran and its surrounding countries in the Persian Gulf, with rich acoustic instrumentation and state-of-the-art modern electronics. They have released four best-selling albums, all of which have debuted at number one on iTunes, and have been featured on NPR, the BBC World, Huffington Post, MTV Iggy, and PRI. Their music has also been featured in several major film and TV scores, including True Blood, Bones, Nip Tuck, and Crossing Over.

Loga Ramin Torkian and Azam Ali of NiyazAt the center of Niyaz’s music is the spellbinding voice of Azam Ali, a two-time nominee of the prestigious Canadian Juno Award whose otherworldly singing has been featured in many major Hollywood film and television soundtracks such as The Matrix-Revolutions, Prince of Persia, Thor: The Dark World, True Blood, Alias, and Prison Break. Azam has also released three critically acclaimed solo albums since 2002 and has collaborated with a wide range of artists such as Serj Tankian of System of a Down, the world-renowned Japanese group Kodo, Zakir Hussain, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Mercan Dede, Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, The Crystal Method, Pat Mastellato and Trey Gunn of King Crimson, Dredg, Chris Vrenna (formerly of Nine Inch Nails), Ben Watkins of Juno Reactor, Buckethead, Steve Stevens, and Mickey Hart.

Niyaz’s co-founding member, Iranian multi-instrumentalist/composer and Juno Award nominee Loga Ramin Torkian, is internationally recognized as a visionary in his field for his unique ability to adapt the Persian classical repertoire to modern composition. He is credited for creating the first ever quarter-tone guitar with movable frets which allowed him to apply many of the traditional Iranian techniques, melodies, and ornamentation to his unique musical expression and compositions. Aside from his artistic achievements, Loga’s talents have also become sought after by many renowned film composers in Hollywood such as Mychael Danna, Harry Gregson Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Ramin Djawdi. His talents have been featured on major film scores, which include Body of Lies, Iron Man, and Prince of Persia.

Both events are free and open to faculty/staff, students, and the community. For more information, contact the Lively Arts at or at 724-357-2787 (ARTS). To purchase tickets for their 8:00 p.m. performance on October 22 in Gorell Recital Hall, call the Lively Arts box office at 724-357-1313 between noon and 5:00 p.m. Monday–Friday, or purchase online.