Blessed are the tears that come from the brook of joy
You travelled with your songs
Joyous is the act of freedom
These words are from the opening poem on Mahsa Vahdat’s new solo album “Enlighten the night”. Together with Atabak Elyasi (arranger and coproducer) she has made an album where the songs reflect the strong and necessary hope that all human beings share in times when darkness is growing in our world. Singing out the tears of joy is Mahsa’s act of freedom.
Persian poets, both those from the classical era like Rumi, Khayyam and Saadi the contemporary ones, echo a wisdom, a passion, a sensitivity and a wide humanistic approach since hundreds of years. Through her life and her artistic activity in many countries Mahsa has developed a strong and personal musical expression that gives new life to this great poetic heritage and brings it on to new generations and listeners throughout the world.
Among the strongest elements of the Persian poetic heritage that echo in Mahsa’s own life is the passionate hope and deep faith in seeing freedom even inside of a cage, seeing light even in the darkest night, seeing hope where everything seems hopeless.
Here is Mahsa Vahdat’s own words about the recording: “This album is another opportunity for me to reflect and challenge my questions, doubts, sensitivity, dreams and desire. The home of my voice is my safest zone in the world where the reign of everything is in my hand, and here I have no fear to reveal my deepest emotional intensity”
The contemporary poets that are represented on the album are Simin Behbehani, Ahmad Shamloo, Forough Farrokhzad, Nima Youshij and Mohammad Ibrahim Jafari.
The music of this album was created the recent years during Mahsa’s and Atabak’s staying in many countries where their music has been appreciated by collaborators, presenters and audiences. Their creativity and lasting collaboration have flourished in Tehran, Oslo, Shahmirzad, Berkeley and San Francisco.
Most of Mahsa’s albums have been recorded in Norway. This happened when she last year made the critically acclaimed and rewarded album “Placeless” together with Kronos Quartet and her sister Marjan, and it happened also with “Enlighten the Night”. Three Norwegian musicians; pianist Tord Gustavsen, bass player Gjermund Silset and drummer Kenneth Ekornes have all taken part in previous albums of Mahsa Vahdat, and on her new album they form a poetic and beautiful soundscape around Mahsa’s strong and expressionistic voice. Iranian Shervin Mohajer appears with his kamancheh on one track.
The recording was done in Kulturkirken Jakob in Oslo, Norway by Martin Abrahamsen and produced by Erik Hillestad together with Atabak Elyasi.