Called "...one of the wonders of world trance music", by The Los Angeles Times, Mamak Khadem captivates audiences by blending her roots in the ancient poetry and music of the Persian masters with a bold and revolutionary new sound. By nature, she is a nomad, one who thrives on open spaces. By occupation, she is a bridge, one that connects geography to lore. In music, she is open to cultural influences, but she has chosen the classical Persian style as her base. Formerly of the sensational cross-cultural fusion ensemble AXIOM OF CHOICE, Mamak weaves a canopy, both simple and rich, for a stunningly emotional and spiritual musical experience that inspires new listeners to embrace cultural diversity and an awareness and appreciation of Persian arts and culture through a blending of old and new.
"The Road", Mamak's newest project, continues a journey started with her celebrated first solo album Jostojoo. Following her passion for new influences, Mamak has crossed borders from various regions in Iran to Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Morocco and Indonesia. Searching for common threads and powerful traditional melodies remains a driving force behind her music using elements from her Iranian heritage such as the poetry of Rumi to re-imagine a song from another culture, time and place. The freedom of her musical expression is intoxicating.
Mamak Khadem was born in Iran, at a time when tides were changing. She was part of the Children's Choir for National Radio and Television of Iran, but it wasn't until after the Iranian Revolution that her passion for singing waxed. Inspired by works of master musicians, she seized every opportunity to further her vocal art, regularly traveling back to Iran to study with some of the finest Persian vocalists and masters. She also benefited from the study of classical Indian singing tradition at the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in Northern California and from singing with the Los Angeles based Balkan choir Nevenka.
Mamak has appeared throughout the Middle East, the US and Europe; performing at the Perth Concert Hall in Australia, the Greek Theater (Los Angeles,) the Smithsonian Institute (Washington DC), the Museum of Folk Instruments (Greece), the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, House of Culture in Germany, California Plaza Grand Performances (Los Angeles), the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles), the World Festival of Sacred Music, (Los Angeles), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), Voices of Women Festival (Greece).
Workshops & Classes
Mamk teaches classical Persian music in Los Angeles as well as conducting workshops for non-musicians that incorporate singing, meditation and movement. Many of her students now use her vocal techniques in their practices and performances.
She has also taught at the Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino, California, the Labyrinth School of Music in Hudetsi, Greece, the Irish World Academy Of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, and University of Toronto.
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Film, Play and Television
Mamak is featured on the soundtrack of the new documentary Skateistan. She has recorded with Hans Zimmer (on the feature soundtrack to the motion picture Peace Maker), Joel McNeally (on the soundtrack to Buffalo Soldier and Dark Angels TV series), Jeff Rona (on the score of Traffic and Profiler TV series), Marco Beltrami (on the feature soundtrack to the motion picture Dracula 2000), Chris Beck (on the score to Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series), Richard Gibbs (on the score of Battlestar Galactica TV series), and Jamshid Sharifi (on the feature soundtrack to the motion picture Persona Non Grata).
She sang for the music score of a theatrical production, Majles-e Shabih, composed by Iranian composer and ethnomusicologist Mohammad Reza Darvishi. The play was written and directed by renowned Iranian playwright and director Bahram Bayzai. It took the stage of Tehran's City Theater in the summer of 2005. Mamak also sang for the Libation Bearers, a play directed by Lee Breurer at Patras Festival in Greece (2006), The music of the Libation Bearers was composed by Eve Beglarian.