Where We Are Gathered by Opium Moon

Twice-nominated Grammy winners Opium Moon create sensuous, enchanting soundscapes that evoke ancient worlds while remaining thoroughly contemporary. Elegant yet deeply emotional, their distinctive sound draws upon the diverse backgrounds of its members: Iranian santoor master Hamid Saeidi, innovative Israeli bassist Itai Disraeli, sought-after American percussionist M.B. Gordy, & virtuosic Canadian-American violinist Lili Haydn. With original compositions that meld sacred/classical traditions of East & West with trance-inducing grooves, the result is at times both stately & rapturous, a sultry & passionate music that seems to emanate from a deep wellspring.

Toronto-born violinist Lili Haydn‘s 6 solo albums have been NPR favorites (“Heifetz meets Hendrix”), and her collaborations with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Sting, Roger Waters, Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, George Clinton’s P-Funk Allstars, Hans Zimmer, and the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are legendary, including performances at Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Opera House, and the Hollywood Bowl. She is also a distinguished film/TV composer with 18 feature films, Netflix’s hit show Ginny & Georgia, and various awards to her credit. Her work has been featured in more than 50 films. A dedicated social activist with a political science degree from Brown University, Lili has done 4 TED presentations, including one with Opium Moon in Mumbai, India, and performs regularly at benefits for such organizations as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, & The Feminist Majority.

Tehran native Hamid Saeidi studied santoor in the Radiff system of Persian classical music with Iran’s famous teacher Madjid Kiani, then attended The Iranian Academy of the Arts, studying composition under the music masters Farhad Fakhredini & Vartan Sahakian. Hamid has been acclaimed for his performances around the world, including his productions at Royce Hall and the Kodak Theatre.
He has scored over 30 films, TV programs, dance and theatrical presentations, receiving awards at the Beirut Film Festival in 2002, the Iran TV festival in 2002, 2004 and 2007, and at Iran’s Society of Critics of Theatre in 2005. In recognition of his work, The Farhang Foundation has commissioned his original compositions for their Nowruz celebrations.

Itai Disraeli was raised in one of Israel’s oldest kibbutz communities, the Mishmar-Ha’Emeq near Nazareth, co-founded by his grandfather in the 1920s. It was among the utopian social experiments that fostered a just, peaceful life of sharing and tolerance, but in his youth Itai lived under the constant specter of war; it was during the Yom Kippur war that he taught himself to play bass in a bomb shelter. An acclaimed, virtuosic bassist & composer, he co-founded the genre-bending band Maetar and has played with Jackson Browne, Larry Coryell, & Nishat Khan, among others. He founded and runs the acclaimed music program at Wildwood School. His music has been licensed for TV & film, and he is active with humanitarian and peace organizations, believing that music has the power to heal & connect.

Percussionist M.B. Gordy has played with such diverse artists as Beck, Frank Zappa, Michael Buble, Green Day, The Doobie Brothers, Josh Groban, Bill Withers, Guns and Roses, Neil Diamond, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, & The National Symphony, as well as his recent work for Adele, Childish Gambino, The Who, & Juanes. With an M.A. from California Institute of the Arts and intensive study of ethnic percussion, he has worked with producers Peter Asher, Don Was, & Rob Cavallo, to name a few. His groove has been heard in over 300 top box office films, including the Harry Potter series, Frozen, Batman, Superman, American Sniper, Transformers, & the X-Men series. His work is also ubiquitous on television, including Mad Men, The Mentalist, The Tonight Show, Battlestar Galactica, Good Morning America, and much more.

I had the chance to catch up with Lili, Itai & M.B. of Opium Moon to dive deep into the new album “Where We Are Gathered”. As in above, each discusses their feeling about the album, the feelings it brings out and was brought to the collection of grooves. I too share some of my thouGhts as I spent a whole lot of time letting these tracks wash over me and do their thang. This record bursts with energy and passion, the pieces to this whole excel and shine like a light unknown and as another step into the future, there are collaborations and other voices added into the worldly mosaic. Our mutual sound grabber, Ramin Sakurai of my guilty pleasure, Supreme Beings of Leisure is one we highlight, as I can happily feel the complement he adds. This album is a healer, a uniter and hopefully more than a dream-like feeling, but a movement forward, together, as only music can do.

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About grnarrow

Setlist Architect/Art Scene Checker-Outer/Sound Feeler

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