Mamak Khadem – Remembrance (Six Degrees Records, 2022)
California-based Iranian singer and songwriter Mamak Khadem has released “Remembrance”, one of the best albums of 2022 so far. “Remembrance” is a heartfelt tribute to Mamak’s father. Her father fell ill during the pandemic. Due to travel restrictions, Mamak was unable to be with him for the last time and this had a profound effect on Mamak’s music.
Mamak Khadem is one of the best singers on the world music scene. His vocal range and techniques are truly impressive. On “Remembrance,” she uses her voice in varied and delightful ways, from passionate, soulful performances to her fantastic ululation style combined with delightfully constructed vocal overdubs. Plus, she included a wonderful vocal collaboration with special guest Chris Martin (Coldplay) on vocals and piano.
On “Remembrance”, Mamak Khadem selected beautiful poems by Rumi and various Persian poets. Along with longtime collaborator, multi-instrumentalist and composer Jamshied Sharifi, they built the superb music around poems and vocals.
Musically, the memorable album incorporates a wide range of musical influences. As you would expect, Persian roots are certainly present in the form of voices and musical instruments. However, Mamak and Jamshied elegantly add other musical elements such as blues, Americana, chamber music and Celtic music along with the haunting electronic atmospheres characteristic of Jamshied.
Mamak invited a group of stellar musicians. The programming of “Remembrance” includes Mamak Khadem singing and setar; Marc Copeley on guitar, mandolin, bass, vocals, percussion and programming; Jamshed Sharifi on piano, keyboards, percussion, bass, guitar; Foroozan Shirghani singing; Benjamin Witteman on tom toms, darbouka, daf, drums; Chis Votek on cello and guzheng; Coleman barkspoetry recitation; Roubik Haroutounian on duduk; Ivan Shardakov on gaida; Megane Gould on violin and viola; children’s choir with Alona Mor Freedman, Mirabai Gould, Kai Sakamoto Sharifi and Pema Sukhmani Sieber; Mehdi Bagheri on kamancheh; KIrsten Agresta-Copely on the harp; and Mickey Raphael on the harmonica.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music for many years. He founded the sites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel is also co-founder of the Transglobal World Music Chart. Angel has also produced and remastered world music studio albums and compilations for labels such as Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts and Music of the World.