Mohsen Namjoo is an Iranian Singer/Songwriter, music scholar and setar (traditional Persian lute) player based in New York City. Hailed as “the Bob Dylan of Iran” by the New York Times, Namjoo is a visionary artist who speaks for the youth in Iran. Seamlessly blending the Classical Persian setar with electric guitar, and rock and blues vocal techniques with Persian avaz (singing), he fuses the ancient with the current.
His ensemble consists of Iranian percussion and drumset player, Yahya; Anders Nilsson, a Swedish New York-based guitarist, composer, improviser and teacher; and bassist and composer Sean Conly.
Areas of Representation: Worldwide
Mohsen Namjoo is an Iranian Singer/Songwriter, music scholar and setar (traditional Persian lute) player based in New York City. Hailed as “the Bob Dylan of Iran” by the New York Times, Namjoo is a visionary artist who speaks for the youth in Iran. Seamlessly blending the Classical Persian setar with electric guitar, and rock and blues vocal techniques with Persian avaz (singing), he fuses the ancient with the current. Since his arrival to the U.S. in 2011, Namjoo has been touring the world to sold out concerts across the globe from US to Canada to Australia and Europe and Middle east. He has released 9 official albums plus many singles in different styles from World music to Rock Blues and Jazz.
Yahya is an Iranian Percussion and drumset player. He started playing tonbak ( Persian Hand Percussion )at the age of 9 and switched to Drum set at the age of 16. He then became active in the underground music scene in Iran and collaborated with many famous Iranian rock bands including 127, Ohum, Kiosk. He moved to NYC in 2011 and studied advanced drum performance at the Drummers Collective school of music in NYC. He joined Mohsen Namjoo’s band in 2012 and has been working with him since. He mixes traditional Iranian rhythms and techniques with modern drum set playing.
Anders Nilsson is a Swedish New York-based guitarist, composer, improviser and teacher. He plays electric and acoustic guitars, bağlama, and a nylon 11-string alto guitar designed by Georg Bohlin. His output spans a wide musical spectrum ranging from solo shows (“Night Guitar”), Anders Nilsson Group (a rhythm-heavy band in NYC), a trio with saxophonist Michael Attias, and bassist Ken Filiano, Anders Nilsson’s AORTA (a jazz-rock type band in Sweden). He is also a band member in several groups playing improvised music. After receiving a BA from Malmö Academy of Music and having worked as a musician and guitar teacher in Sweden for a few years he moved to New York in 2000 and got his MA from CCNY. He has performed and/or recorded or toured internationally with many artists associated with the blues/jazz/experimental paradigms such as Kalabalik (with Raoul Björkenheim and Gerald Cleaver), Paquito D’Rivera, William Parker, Elliot Sharp, Eugene Chadbourne, Fay Victor Ensemble, poets John Sinclair and Bonnie Barnett, art-metal band Angelblood, and Iranian musician Mohsen Namjoo. He has collaborated with Butoh artist Akira Kasai, theatre director Doris Mirescu and video artist Arrien Zinghini. Nilsson’s work as a composer includes music for short films, dance performances, string quartet, theatre plays, as well as over 80 compositions. He has taught over 1,000 guitar students of all ages at a number of schools and in private.
Bassist and composer Sean Conly has been obsessed with music for his entire life. At age six, Sean began playing guitar and writing songs . In school band Sean played percussion but as his teen years began and he wanted to start a band he picked up the electric bass.
Within a few months Sean started to play around town. For the rest of his teens he played in numerous bands performing in venues across the Midwest. It was thru these nighttime binges that he became more and more attracted to jazz and improvised music from such artists as Charle Mingus The Revolutionary Ensemble and Ornett Coleman and Jaco Pastorius.
After high school, Sean moved to Kansas City to attend the UMKC Conservatory of Music where he began to study the Contrabass, but his real education happened on the bandstand with local legends such as Ahmad Alaadeen, Tim (Timbone) Williams, Jay McShann, Claude “fiddler” Williams Rich Hill, Norman “Bishop” Williams, Horace Washington and many others.
A year later he moved to Manhattan, where he has resided ever since. Since then he has gone on to tour the world and/or record with a diverse list of artists such as Gregory Tardy, Freddie Hubbard, Regina Carter, Ray Barretto, Charles Blenzig, Michael Franks, Tom Harrell, Andrew Hill, Nicholas Payton, Stefon Harris, Yoron Israel, Eric Lewis, Deidre Murray, John Mcneil, Timucin Sahin, James Moody , Mike Stern, Rick Margitza, Michael Attias, Tony Malaby , Myron Walden, Phillip Harper, Russ Lossing, Anthony Coleman, Avishai Cohen (trpt), Ayelte Rose Gottleib, Vana Gehrig Trio, Darius Jones, Ken Vandermark/Steve Swell Quartet, The Newport Millenium Celebration with Cedar Walton, Randy Brecker, Howard Alden , Lou Tobackin and many many others.
As a band leader or co/ leader he has performed with several stellar groups over the years starting with The Invisibles featuring Ben Monder, Tony Malaby, John OGalliger and Tony Moreno, Re:Action with Michael Attias Tony Malaby and Pheeroan Aklaff, Grassroots with Darius Jones, Chad Taylor and Alex Harding, High Low Brow with Mike Pride and Mary Halvorson, Think Shadow with Michael Attias and also as a solo performer. Recently he has unveiled a new piano trio, Far North, featuring Tom Rainey and Kris Davis.
Sean is also an in demand Teacher. He has given clinics on four continents and has been on the faculty of The Collective School of Music since 2009.
Future Tour Dates
|Jul 14, 2018||Concert of Colors||Get Info/Tix|
|Detroit, MI USA||Max Fisher Music Center|
|Jul 15, 2018||Jackson Unity Festival||Get Info/Tix|
|Jackson, MI USA||CP Federal City Square at Horace Blackman Park|
|Mar 28, 2019||Get Info/Tix|
|Irvine, CA USA||Irvine Barclay Theatre|
|Mar 28, 2019||Get Info/Tix|
|Irvine, CA USA||Irvine Barclay Theatre|
|Jun 21, 2018||Venue Info|
|New York, NY USA||Astor Place|
|Mar 18, 2018|
|Golden, CO USA||Lockridge Arena|
- Songlines Music Awards 2018 Nominees! Congratulations to two Riot Artists performers who have each been nominated in multiple categories for the Songlines Music Awards 2018!
Oumou Sangaré: Best Artist; and Africa & Middle East
Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino: Best Group; and Europe
We wish them luck in the awards ceremony in October!
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2/24/2017
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“Mohsen Namjoo’s songs are steeped in Persian classical music and poetry, merged freely with raucous Western rock. He was an acclaimed and sometimes controversial songwriter in Iran who has lived in exile in the West after being sentenced, while abroad, to five years in prison for setting Quran verses to music. Even across the language barrier — his songs are in Persian — his commitment was unmistakable, and his chameleonic voice could hold the nuanced clarity of Persian classical singing or turn into a rocker’s howl, an old man’s cackle or a theatrical sob.” – NEW YORK TIMES
“The high point was a rare concert by Mohsen Namjoo, known as the Bob Dylan of Iran… Namjoo, in one of his infrequent live performances, brought down a sold-out house in UCLA’s Royce Hall… He was backed by a high-energy rock-jazz combo which complemented his eclectic mix of styles from traditional Iranian melodic modes to contemporary beats… Seamlessly knitting together these disparate elements was his unique and winning performance style.” – MONSTERS AND CRITICS
“Mohsen Namjoo blends sublime classical Persian rhythms with rock and blues. He combines religious songs and folklore. He plays the traditional Iranian lute – the setar – along with the electric guitar. His lyrics mix the poetry of the venerated Hafez and Rumi with ordinary chatter in the bazaar. Namjoo’s music highlights the incongruity of Iranian society today. That’s why he’s known as the Iranian Bob Dylan.” – THE GUARDIAN
“Considered a phenomenon within Iranian culture, Namjoo has pioneered a contemporary readaptation of Persian music, which has been trapped in its own conservative and stagnated rules. With a classical voice and musical training from childhood, he has passionately studied Western music even while living in a repressive social environment that considers Western culture its greatest threat. Yet he has fearlessly navigated his own musical way to arrive at a rare form of maturity and refinement.” BOMB MAGAZINE