WORLD MUSIC/ELECTRONICs & Dance Ensemble
Middle Eastern to Indian electroacoustic mystic melodies meet electronic grooves with mesmerizing dance.
Electronics, Keyboards, Drums, Percussion, Producer
Oud, Voice, Saz, Buzuk, Setar,
Baglama, Kopus Saz, Composer
Karavan Sarai weaves an electro-acoustic Silk Road, powered by a core trio of performers, multi-instrumentalist and composer Narayan Sijan, choreographer and dancer Schirin Chams-Diba, and two-time GRAMMY winner electronic musician and producer Carmen Rizzo (Seal, A.R. Rahman, Huun Huur Tu, Paul Oakenfold, to co-founded the world/electronic act Niyaz).
Narayan’s mastery of Egyptian oud and Turkish saz (baglama) unspool evocative melodies taken directly from his fifteen year pilgrimage and musical apprenticeship along the Silk Road. They are amplified by Chams-Diba’s celebratory and sacred dances, a visual feast inspired by her native Persia and Silk Road lands. Rizzo’s signature beats and sounds bring a bright, shifting contemporary edge to the traditional and original pieces.
The Silk Road is an ancient network of caravan routes reaching from East Asia to the Mediterranean, where many resting inns were established. From deep deserts to bustling cities caravans converged at a Karavan Sarai (literally Caravan Palace). Mystics, merchants, scholars, musicians, nomads and their camels and horses stopped for the night to rest and celebrate the day’s journey. The Sarais became centers for sharing of cross-cultural musical ideas and experiences, a spirit Narayan found in his many years living in these lands.
In the Sarais, when the sun set over the Oasis in the deserts, the music began and thus created a musical woven landscape of The Great Silk Road. The alchemy of such musical storytelling was a magic carpet ride to other worlds. The music merged into a unique fusion of traditional songs and newfound expressions of the musicians. These magical moments often only lasted for just the time that these people came together before they continued on their respective journeys.
Karavan Sarai imagines and reframes these moments of sonic serendipity and cultural resonance. Festival highlights include Symbiosis and Lighting in a Bottle. Their debut album, Woven Landscapes, reached #6 on the CMJ World Music Charts. Their latest, Painted Sands was ten weeks in the top ten charts peaking at #4, marks the next stage in their journey, delving deeper into the traditions that shaped the project while exploring new territory.