Kooch: Songs of Migration brings together music from around Iran with the creative adventure and personal expression inherent in jazz and improvised forms for a reflective journey evoking the essence of the migration experience. A performance between Shirin Majd, her ensemble and dancer, Kooch fuses traditional and new songs from the Farsi, Turkish, Spanish and English languages. Kooch presents a musical experience of Mastaneh Nazarian (one of the creators/composer) for bringing to life the universal themes that migrants have faced throughout time and place with songs of hope, peace, belonging and love’s passage. Other composers are Basir Faghih Nasiri and Mahyar Alizadeh.
Soprano & Artistic Director
Shirin Majd leads the collaborative project as artistic director and performer. She is an Iranian born singer who left Iran in 2011 to further her studies in operatic soprano voice at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in Australia. Her migration was instigated by the fact that Iran’s regime does not allow for performance opportunities for female singers. Since arriving in 2011, she has been active across Australia and internationally as a performer, artistic director, composer and promoter of cultural awareness and understanding with an emphasis on issues for women from the Middle East. As an artistic director, she is always looking for ways to collaborate across cultures with exceptional artists from Australia and abroad. As a performer, she has sung at many events and festivals including the Woodford Folk Festival, the Tyalgum Classical Music Festival and the Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre (BEMAC) Planet Festival.
Collaboration for Kooch started in 2016 with Melbourne composer Mastaneh Nazarian, a Victorian composer whose poly-stylistic and highly original music has been awarded prizes at numerous international composition competitions around the world over the last few years. Her pieces for small improvising ensemble are based on jazz principles and capture a unique and personal narrative style. As a songwriter, she aims to compose both music and words as a united whole, often incorporating improvisation.
Sonia Killmann is a Scotland based saxophonist and composer from Belgium. Aside from being a experienced improviser and jazz musician, she also practices as a sound and audiovisual artist.
Iraya’s dance has been influenced by different styles. She has a background in classical ballet, contemporary dance and Egyptian dance, and she is currently learning Flamenco. Her studies in contemporary dance and Egyptian Dance started in Granada (Spain). Iraya moved to Edinburgh in 2009 where she currently lives and works as a dancer.