Roya Arab

Iranian Musician and Archaeologist

munich piano shot@HadiGhobad Seem Festival 2022

12 Dec 2022 performed alongside a collective of creative and intellectual souls #baraye Femme, Vie, Liberté, at La Trianon, Paris.

2 July 2022 Performed songs from the. past with Pouya Mahmoodi and Phil Davies at Richmix for Vaak East: Contemporary Sounds From the Iranian Diaspora, Richmix.

01 April, Le Printemps du Jazz Persan, La Seine Musicale. Performed my own songs of Love and War before joining Azarine trio and friends for a lovely musical journey.
Arshid Azarine, roya, Soheil Peyghambari, Sussan Deyhim, Habib Meftah, Mahyar Tahmasbi, Pouya Mahmoodi, Herve de Ratuld
IMG-20220403-WA0003(Photo Bahar Azadi)

Jan/Feb 2022,Oh Vienna, 30 years on…visiting the first place I ever recorded and sang at festivals, best of all recalling Technisches Museum, whilst being refurbished in the early 1990’s one of the best places to perform and party.
vienna press 1993 cut

21 Dec 2021 Yalda jam with Embryo, Feierwerk Funkstation, Munchen. Seem Festival.

18 Dec Concert with Sam Beklik on visuals and guest Hamid Navim on Santour, Einstein kultur; Munchen. Seem Festival. Patogh.

Nov 2021 release of ‘Lost’ with Faubourg and Rith Banney, composed May 2019, Paris.

Mar 2021- Performed ‘Hollow’ (written in 1995) for Sur La Toit at Theatre du Chatelet, Paris.

Mar 2021 - Arte Concert, Rone and Friends Album, Theatre Du Chatelet, Paris.

Mar 2021- Release of ‘2020’ with Rone for his album ‘Rone & Friends’.

Dec 2020 Online concert with Pouya Mahmoodi. Gate of Tehran: The Earth Breathes.

Oct 2020 - Singing with Arshid Azarine trio ‘Sing me a Song’ at Jazz Sur Seine, at Sunside, Paris.

November 2019 - Singing with Arshid Azarine 6 and singers presenting album ‘Sing me A song’, New Morning, Paris.June 2019 release of track ‘Hidden Hell’ with Arshid Azarine for his album ’Sing Me a Song’.

Dec 14, 2018 - Concert with Nick Haward on bass and Hamid Navim on Santour. Gate of Tehran: Days of Experimental Sounds. Berlin.

16 Dec- Guest Appearance with Barad. Gate of Tehran: Days of Experimental Sounds. Berlin.

June 2017
- Singing solo (with art by Dunja Berndorff) then joining Azarine 6, for the Chain of Hope charity, at La peniche Anako, Paris.

May 2017 - Singing songs of protest at City University, 7pm, Tue 2 May with guest cellist Maral Mohammadi and art by Dunja Berndorff.

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Dec 2016 - Singing for refugees (Decamper Dunkerque) at with Arshid and Moki Azarine at Halle Aux Sucre.

Nov 2016 - sang with the hugely talented and humane Arshid Azarine, at the Pheasantry , Chelsea.

Oct 2015- ‘Sheherezad’s night’, performed songs old and new and a few Persian ones with multi instrumentalist. Pouya Mahmoodi,
Amongst superb MENA ladies Hala Ali, Zahra Barri, Olcay Bayir, Tania Diggory and Nadine Khouri.
Organised by Arts canteen for Nour Festival.

Sept 2015 - ‘Inside Out Iran’ live with Nick Haward and special guest Hamid Navim at Richmix 8-12pm.

ov 2014 - March Forth with Rosko John from his new Album ‘Call to Arms’.

August 2014 - Hinterland a short film by Sebastian Lister. Had fun helping to edit the film with Daniel George Burke and Sebastian, and the pleasure of writing my first film score, albeit 10 minutes long, with Nick Haward on double bass and the mighty Philip Bagenal’s sharp ear’s guiding the production.

Feb/March 2014 - ‘On the road again’ with a real nice bunch of very talented artists - Dick Taylor, Henry Padovani and Kathy Mendonca, for a musical sojourn. We had three days to get the song recorded and publicise the event. Then one day to rehearse for the best part - the live gig 24 March 2014 at Le Divan Du Monde in Paris.

Feb 2014 - Rosko John releases Tactical Light EP

28 June 2013 - Roya Arab (composition, piano & vocals) and Nick Haward (double bass) will be performing live at Foyles Cafe 113-9 Charing Cross Road, 6-7pm.

2013 ‘Mooye Parishoon’ Hichkas and Mahdyar Aghajani kindly accepted my invitation to co-create a song for the charitable foundation, Omid e Mehr and invited Darius to join the endeavour. This was due to be released for the benefit of the charity that looks after troubled young women in Iran, but due to a leak of the unedited version, the final edit had to be put on the web ahead of schedule.

August 2012 - Real happy to welcome on board Nick Haward on double bass into the fold, what a sound…what a master…….

Monday 30 April 2012- ‘Lifting the Veil’ Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge
5pm- ’Persian Poets, Old and New’ presenting paper entitled ‘War and Heritage’
8.30- Piano, song and rap with Reveal and Hichkas
9pm- DJ Set by ‘Take it Easy Hospital’

New Music Iran 2011- sitting round with the lovely Iranian crew I thought up NMI - A king Arthur’s round table of musicians on a hill top much like Alamute (one of the fortresses from whence Hassan Saba sent out his assassins in 11th Century Persia/Iran). Around this time Iran produced some really interesting characters such as: Ibn Sina/Avicenna (980-1037) a polymath who’s cannon of medicine was used across Europe’s medieval universities, Nezam Al Mulk (1018-1092) with his book of politics and world renowned schools, Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) master poet, mathematician and astronomer who perfected the solar calendar and Farid ud Din Attar (1145/6-1221) master chemist and sufi. NMI in exile hope to capture the spirit of these great minds.

Thursday 15 March 2012
8-10pm - New Music Iran at the Old Library in Emmanuel college (Cambridge)
8.15-9pm DJ set by Take it Easy Hospital
9-10pm Roya Arab presents Alamute with guests including Reveal and Hichkas (live music).

30 Nov 2011 - Celebration of Yalda at Leighton House Museum for Nour Festival. We performed my new compositions (piano and vocals). Had the pleasure of sharing the stage with family and friends including: Hamid Navim - santour, Ash Koosha - bass, Tansay Omar - beats, Masoud Sharifian – sitar, with rap from Reveal and Sin.Laam (a.k.a Hichkas) and engineered/recorded by Pooya Koosha - Yalda at Nour Festival - 2011 - Leighton House Museum
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Roya Arab and Hichkas- Leighton House Nov 2011. Image by Mike Massaro.

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Roya Arab, Reveal, Tansay Omar and Ash Koosha- Leighton House Nov 2011. Image by Mike Massaro.

Dec 2011- Over the past year, since getting back into making music, I am happy to have rediscovered the piano, having played in my teenage years; I seemed to have misplaced this old friend for twenty years.

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Roya Arab at Leighton House 2011. Image Mike Massaro.

I have had the pleasure of writing and jamming with some really talented artists. Worked with Mahdyar Aghajani in Paris and Take it Easy Hospital, then Ash koosha when he became a soloist. Rosko John asked me to write some music on piano for rap, motivating me to work with rappers - an inspired time, with piano and rap, resulting in some new tunes with Hichkas; Reveal of the Poisonous poets has been dropping his rhymes too. Had an ear/eye-opening time working, with Nick Franglin, on an Iranian translation of a holy text 2010 update After ten years studying archaeology and since the fun tour I did with my sister last year, I really started missing making and performing music. Now, am breathing life into my old songs and creating some new ones - happily collaborating with some lovely musicians.

Leila is my wonderfully talented sister, with whom it is a pleasure to partake in musical journeys through time.

I was introduced to Zend Avesta (2000) and Naab (1999) by a French friend, and had fun creating a couple of songs out in pretty Paris.

I had the honour of working with Mike Figgis, on a song written by him, entitled ‘This is how we are’ in 2000.

Grooverider, I was introduced to Grooverider in 1998 by the lovely Trenton, had a laugh writing and recording our track and video.

Archive – It was 1994, I was working to raise money and move to a friend’s giete in Northern France, to complete a play I had started writing during a summer course at the School of Speech and Drama. Basil one of the best Jam leaders this side of the world, led Archive to me. I met Darius Keeler, and I liked what came out the tape deck - odd to think tapes sound archaic now! He had some words for Dark Room and shortly I was reworking the lyrics and singing away. Subsequently, was introduced to Rosko John and Danny G. We recorded the album within weeks. With ‘Nothing Else’ and ‘All time’, I was writing the lyrics in north London, whilst Darius had been recording new tunes down south. We met up, the words and music were a perfect fit. It was a lovely feeling, we were all united, watching young Rosko rap his awesome wise lyrics, stoned calm Danny spinning discs, and Darius consumed with enthusiasm and passion. We were signed as a band a few months later, and the word downhill would be optimistic; with the arrival of managers, A&R and money somehow the good feelings started to dissipate. I had little to do as my original singing on the demo remained, instead had to wait over a year whilst the producers twiddled their knobs! Worst of all hearing remixes that grated my bones, not least they reworked Ubiquitous Wife into some cheesy bullshit, when in fact it was meant to be a graceful minimalist jazz tune. Safe to say artistically it was like entering a void, furthermore, watching Rosko who had started the band with Darius and come up with the name for the band, being sidelined as egos went into overdrive made me really uncomfortable, alongside a personal relationship that ironically lasted longer than my time in the band. We had signed as a band, yet were fast becoming crazy seals in hell’s circus….We all lost the plot….once regained we rehearsed, then sat waiting for the record company’s A&R, who were nearly two hours late coming to see the live set….Rosko rightly walked out and a day later after a television interview, Darius thankfully dissolved the band.

P.S. Some months later, Olivier Dahan contacted me about appearing in a video of ’Nothing Else’ for his film ‘Deja mort’. I said yes so long as I could be a mechanical doll and have flowers to arrange, he agreed and we had fun creating the video. Some time later, Darius asked if I would sing for Archive again, I said no - for me there was no Archive without Rosko; however, I did agree to sing ‘Nothing Else’ on a live French show with them, what a disaster! Someone played with Darius’s computer, thus altering the beats and sounds, it was like something out of ‘Spinal Tap’!