Iran-influenced Niyaz comes to Whitefish


The Sound of Yearning

Montana Living — The Whitefish Theatre Company is delighted to present Niyaz, a dynamic quintet of musicians known for their bold fusion of traditional and contemporary Middle Eastern rhythms. A family-friendly concert not to miss, Niyaz will perform on Friday, March 10th at 7:30 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish.

Described by the Huffington Post as “an evolutionary force in contemporary Middle Eastern music,” Niyaz—which means “yearning” in both Farsi and Urdu—blend medieval Sufi poetry and folk songs from Turkey, India, and their native Iran with rich acoustic instrumentation and modern electronic rhythms. The result is a riveting folktronica, a distinctively 21st century global trance sound that crosses not only stylistic and cultural boundaries but generational ones as well. As part of their cutting-edge performance, Niyaz will be joined by a classically-trained whirling dervish, a spellbinding, spinning dancer who is sure to entrance the audience.

Niyaz was founded in 2004 by captivating vocalist Azam Ali and multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian, both JUNO Award nominees. Azam is an Iranian-born, Indian-raised singer/composer whose worldly vocals have been featured in many Hollywood film and television soundtracks. Iranian-born Loga, a highly gifted composer and a visionary, is greatly respected worldwide for his ability to adapt the Persian classical repertoire to his own unique and modern compositions. While his main instruments include the Turkish Saz, the Kamaan and the Guitar Viol, Loga also plays the Lafta, Guitar, and Djura. The band also features Gabriel Ethier on keyboards and music programming, Vaneet Vyas playing the tabla, a South Asian percussion instrument, and Didem Basar playing the kanun, a Turkish stringed instrument related to the dulcimer. Tanya Evanson is joining Niyaz as the Sufi whirling dancer.
Niyaz have produced three successful albums which have topped the world music sales and radio charts, each redefining a unique style of world music with imaginative combinations of sound and socially conscious messages. With features on National Public Radio and Public Radio International, Niyaz are tireless performers who continue to tour internationally, building on their impressive and loyal fan base worldwide. 
Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students with reserved seating.  Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office, 1 Central Ave., Whitefish, or by calling 862-5371.  Box office hours are from 10 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before a performance.  Tickets can also be purchased online at  This show is made possible by the generous donation of an anonymous sponsor. A free outreach concert for at-risk and other youth is sponsored by Rocky Mountain Contractors. These concerts are also supported, in part, with funds provided by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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