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WORLD MUSIC/ELECTRONICs & Dance Ensemble

Middle Eastern to Indian electroacoustic mystic melodies meet electronic grooves with mesmerizing dance.

 

Carmen Rizzo

Electronics, Keyboards, Drums, Percussion, Producer

Narayan Sijan

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.

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                  Karavan Sarai   

   Narayan Sijan    Growing up in a family of artists that supported creativity and expression, I felt a calling from boyhood that drew me toward the mystical captivating music, culture, and nature of the East. I started saving every penny I could so that once I was old enough, I could go and live there, not merely visit.  The images of gypsies and Sufis playing music, whirling from the deserts of India to the Nile River and the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, enticed me and urged me on. Years later, it felt like a dream to learn their daily ways of life and live with them, when home at times was a mere fire in the sand dunes under a starry night. I spent years studying, playing music, and dancing with them with such vigour that they welcomed me with open arms.    During my first years traveling in the mid 1990s, I survived on only $100 a month, stretching my resources so I could stay longer and experience more. After 14 years I only went back to the US for less then a year in total. I had found a new home and it was in the east.  As my love for the music grew like wildfire, I traveled the Silk Road regions learning directly from the masters I met. I lived from my small backpack, half full of cassettes and music gear, the other half stuffed personal items and trinkets to sell so I could fund my travels just a few days more.  I was on the hunt for special instruments and melodies that moved my heart and soul. That was the guiding light in a vast, overwhelming world, and it created magical moments my whole life. In 1998, I started taking my musical studies very seriously. Guided by various master musicians, I would lock myself in a room, spending 10-12 hours a day studying what they taught me.  My sound came from absorbing these lands and cultures and listening very carefully to the nuances of the music, its color and flavor. I kept my creative side alive in this period of intense discipline, by exploring my own unique sound and composing songs that linked my musical impulses to age-old melodies.  Inspiration moved through me, and the blending of ancient and modern sounds gave birth to a vision.  Along the Silk Road, I was always drawn to old karavan sarais (travellers’ inns or hubs) from India to Egypt and Turkey. Indeed, this music project was born from and on the Silk Road at a karavan sarai at night.  I would envision travellers from different regions, arriving at night after a long day on the road. I could almost hear them in the darkness around the fires, sharing their music and creating new songs that were then brought to their distant lands. The grand web of music connected the various ethnic cultures. The healing spirit of sound brought people together in love. That is the power that moved me to create the music  project Karavan Sarai.  I am forever in awe and humbled by the meditative power of music and its celebrative, healing, and mystical properties. I want to bring listeners around that same fire, to hear the web for themselves.

 Narayan Sijan 

Growing up in a family of artists that supported creativity and expression, I felt a calling from boyhood that drew me toward the mystical captivating music, culture, and nature of the East. I started saving every penny I could so that once I was old enough, I could go and live there, not merely visit.

The images of gypsies and Sufis playing music, whirling from the deserts of India to the Nile River and the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, enticed me and urged me on. Years later, it felt like a dream to learn their daily ways of life and live with them, when home at times was a mere fire in the sand dunes under a starry night. I spent years studying, playing music, and dancing with them with such vigour that they welcomed me with open arms.  

During my first years traveling in the mid 1990s, I survived on only $100 a month, stretching my resources so I could stay longer and experience more. After 14 years I only went back to the US for less then a year in total. I had found a new home and it was in the east.

As my love for the music grew like wildfire, I traveled the Silk Road regions learning directly from the masters I met. I lived from my small backpack, half full of cassettes and music gear, the other half stuffed personal items and trinkets to sell so I could fund my travels just a few days more.

I was on the hunt for special instruments and melodies that moved my heart and soul. That was the guiding light in a vast, overwhelming world, and it created magical moments my whole life. In 1998, I started taking my musical studies very seriously. Guided by various master musicians, I would lock myself in a room, spending 10-12 hours a day studying what they taught me.

My sound came from absorbing these lands and cultures and listening very carefully to the nuances of the music, its color and flavor. I kept my creative side alive in this period of intense discipline, by exploring my own unique sound and composing songs that linked my musical impulses to age-old melodies.  Inspiration moved through me, and the blending of ancient and modern sounds gave birth to a vision.

Along the Silk Road, I was always drawn to old karavan sarais (travellers’ inns or hubs) from India to Egypt and Turkey. Indeed, this music project was born from and on the Silk Road at a karavan sarai at night.  I would envision travellers from different regions, arriving at night after a long day on the road. I could almost hear them in the darkness around the fires, sharing their music and creating new songs that were then brought to their distant lands. The grand web of music connected the various ethnic cultures. The healing spirit of sound brought people together in love. That is the power that moved me to create the music  project Karavan Sarai.

I am forever in awe and humbled by the meditative power of music and its celebrative, healing, and mystical properties. I want to bring listeners around that same fire, to hear the web for themselves.

    Schirin Chams-Diba    Dancer and choreographer of Karavan Sarai. Schirin Chams-Diba travelled the globe experiencing and learning from the master teachers of the Silk Road. From the gypsy trail, the Middle East, Central Asia and India, Schirin immersed herself in the practical and philosophical studies of classical, mystical, folkloric and sacred dances from Persian to Indian, Roma and belly dance. The strongest personal transmissions of dance understanding came from her teachers Shahrazad, Tais, Helia Bandeh and Miriam Peretz and is currently part of Miriam’s ‘Nava’ dance collective. At a very auspicious time in India her dance was blessed by Shashimani Devi the last devadasi temple dancer .     As a multi-disciplinary world dance artist, Schirin intends to preserve rooted traditions and the spirit of the cultures through their dances as a rich tapestry of divine expression. She regularly performs dance with world-renown musical acts such as Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Stellamara, Karavan Sarai, Sua Devi (Latcho Drom), Beats Antique, Jillina Carlano’s Bellydance Evolution.      schirinchamsdiba.com

  Schirin Chams-Diba

 Dancer and choreographer of Karavan Sarai. Schirin Chams-Diba travelled the globe experiencing and learning from the master teachers of the Silk Road. From the gypsy trail, the Middle East, Central Asia and India, Schirin immersed herself in the practical and philosophical studies of classical, mystical, folkloric and sacred dances from Persian to Indian, Roma and belly dance. The strongest personal transmissions of dance understanding came from her teachers Shahrazad, Tais, Helia Bandeh and Miriam Peretz and is currently part of Miriam’s ‘Nava’ dance collective. At a very auspicious time in India her dance was blessed by Shashimani Devi the last devadasi temple dancer .

   As a multi-disciplinary world dance artist, Schirin intends to preserve rooted traditions and the spirit of the cultures through their dances as a rich tapestry of divine expression. She regularly performs dance with world-renown musical acts such as Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Stellamara, Karavan Sarai, Sua Devi (Latcho Drom), Beats Antique, Jillina Carlano’s Bellydance Evolution.    schirinchamsdiba.com


 
 
 
 
 
   Carmen Rizzo   Producer, artist, electronic musician, composer, DJ, remixer, and two-time Grammy nominee  Carmen Rizzo  has had a very eclectic career, from writing, engineering and programming on Seal’s classic album Seal 2 to producing and writing for Paul Oakenfold’s Bunka album, and from collaborating with Tuvan throat singers Huun Huur Tu to co-founding the groundbreaking world music/electronic act Niyaz (whose three albums all debuted at #1 on the iTunes world music chart).    Carmen is a frequent fixture in album credits, working with such artists as Coldplay, Seal, Perry Farrell, Alanis Morissette, Dido, Jem, AR Rahman, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Khaled, Michael Nyman, and Pete Townshend, as well as with record producers Trevor Horn, Rob Cavallo, David Foster and Marius De Vries. He has recorded all over the world, from Abbey Road studios (UK) and Studio Plus XXX (Paris) to Record Plant (L.A.) and Studio 301 (Australia), among others. As a solo artist, he received mass critical acclaim when USA Today picked his debut album as number one in their fall music guide.                   carmenrizzo.com

 Carmen Rizzo

Producer, artist, electronic musician, composer, DJ, remixer, and two-time Grammy nominee Carmen Rizzo has had a very eclectic career, from writing, engineering and programming on Seal’s classic album Seal 2 to producing and writing for Paul Oakenfold’s Bunka album, and from collaborating with Tuvan throat singers Huun Huur Tu to co-founding the groundbreaking world music/electronic act Niyaz (whose three albums all debuted at #1 on the iTunes world music chart).

  Carmen is a frequent fixture in album credits, working with such artists as Coldplay, Seal, Perry Farrell, Alanis Morissette, Dido, Jem, AR Rahman, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Khaled, Michael Nyman, and Pete Townshend, as well as with record producers Trevor Horn, Rob Cavallo, David Foster and Marius De Vries. He has recorded all over the world, from Abbey Road studios (UK) and Studio Plus XXX (Paris) to Record Plant (L.A.) and Studio 301 (Australia), among others. As a solo artist, he received mass critical acclaim when USA Today picked his debut album as number one in their fall music guide.                 carmenrizzo.com


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                   Karavan Sarai has two live ensembles

1.) Karavan Sarai (Full Band) with Narayan Sijan, Carmen Rizzo, Schirin Chams-Diba, added musicians, live visual multi-media show and dancers.  

2.) Karavan Sarai (Duo Show) with Narayan Sijan on electronics, instruments (oud,saz), vocals and Schirin Chams-Diba as dancer/choreographer, back-up vocals.