Mamak Khadem Biography
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.
Inspired by the poetry and paintings of Iranian artist Sohrab Sepehri, Mamak Khadem’s new project "A Window To Color" shares a message of peace and understanding through an exploration of what is most sacred in the natural world as expressed in Sepehri’s contributions to the cannon of Persian literature, culture, history and traditions. Like Sepehri, Mamak Khadem seeks to explore the intersections of Eastern and Western traditions. Collaborating with traditional performers from Iran as well as world-aware instrumentalists from the West, Mamak hopes to inspire people around the world, particularly the young, to contemplate, observe and celebrate the value of nature and the environment. Mamak's first solo album "Jostojoo (Forever Seeking)" features some of Mamak's favorite Persian poetry blended with carefully chosen melodies rooted in the traditions of Armenia, Greece, Turkey and Iran.
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.
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.
Besides recording with film composers, Mamak has worked, performed and recorded with Turkish singer Omar Faruk Tekbilek (on the album Alif), Jamshid Sharifi (0n "A Prayer for the Soul of Layla"), and Tulku (on "Season of Souls" compiled in one of the Buddha Bar CD series).