WASHINGTON, DC – The word Jhanvieh is the Persian-version of the French word for January: Janvier. The group Jhanvieh however, is nothing but Persian-musicality in raw and unique form. With Thievery Corporation-esque production quality and originality, Jhanvieh is the first Iranian-electro-classical band with “all Farsi lyrics“.
Jhanvieh was created through Anahita and Sam‘s – a singing and songwriting duo – yearning to work on a Persian-based band. And with their training in both Classical Eastern and Western music, in addition to FX-production and recording, together they are the circuit-bending: Jhanvieh.
Enjoy our chat with Sam – who once played a private concert for the legendary Iranian musician; Anoushiravan Rohani – and his bandmate Anahita — whose vocal stylings easily surpass her predecessors’ — and get to know this brand-new and brilliantly-delicious Persian-lounge-fusion band & their avant-garde yet underground-indie sound.
To “come together as one while sharing our intellect with the world” is what Jhanvieh strives to do, and we think they’re doing just that!
So, if you like the Brazilian Girls or Federico Aubele… then don’t miss out on Jhanvieh’s audio-genius and their first-ever album: Abrisham.
SKS: Where were you born?
S: I was born in Tehran
A: I was born in Utah, USA
Where did you grow up?
S: Iran, Europe, & America
What did you study?
S: I studied music, literature, & biology
A: Music and psychology
When did you leave Iran?
Are you guys related?
Are you both classically trained in music?
S: Yes. I learned to play music under Arthur Davis (John Coltrane’s bassist), Zakir Hussain, and Siamac Pouian.
A: I study classical guitar under David Grimes and am a classically trained vocalist.
Do you write, perform, and produce all of your music?
S: Yes…we do it all.
How many instruments to do you play? Which ones?
S: We play Tar, Setar, Tabla, Congos, Guitars, Cello, Bass, Drums, Keys, Piano, live FX modulation and we are Circuit Benders.
What’s your favorite instrument?
S: We love Tar, Guitar, Cello, and Circuit Bending/Modulating
What three words describe your sound best?
S: Intelligent, passionately-eclectic, and avant garde.
Who are your top musical influences?
S: Ours, Brazilian Girls, Portis Head, Googoosh, and Nirvana.
How did the decision to mix all your mediums to create your unique sound come about?
S: We quite frankly got tired of hearing the same beats and melodies in contemporary Persian music. We originated a formula for fusing contemporary Persian poetic meters with Western rock music as well as flamenco and other forms of gypsy music that compliment traditional Persian folk and classical music. We want to contribute to the evolution of Persian culture as well as to represent the power, intellect, and grace of the Persian culture. We also want to bring a positive message of peace, love, and unity underneath a psychedelic and responsible music backdrop.
What book(s) are you reading now?
S: Poetry by Hafez and Sadi. The Singularity is Near, The Emperor’s New Mind, Collections by Faulkner
What has brought you to this place and time of your life?
S: Too many things to even mention, but we’ve both lived a complex life and our art and passion reflect what we have been through as symbols of strength, like everyone else, especially immigrants and refugees all over the world.
What are a few names that come to mind when thinking of Iranian musical greats?
S: Daruish, Shajarian, Tehrani, Shahyar Ghambari, Alizadeh, Googoosh…
What’s a favorite work experience you can share?
S: Well, as a team, our experience playing at the Mehregan Fall Festival was pretty amazing. There were so many people there and we had to work really hard and fast to set up, play, and tear down. It was like playing a show on fast forward, but we were so impressed with the support of our friends and the Persian as well as global communities. We hope to tour soon.
Who has inspired you the most in life?
S: For both of us, our Mom and Dad
What do you hope to accomplish in your musical career?
S: Our main goal is not self motivated. We want to add a new direction of Persian music. A new genre. We want to show the world that we can do it all, in the Persian community.
Is your music sold in Iran?
S: Not yet.
Who do you think your listeners are?
S: Young to surprisingly older – 12-60something.
What time of day do you find yourself to be the most creative?
Which American musician’s career comes to mind, when you think of a role model for yourself?
S: Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain
A: Jimmy Gnecco and Eddie Vedder
What do you hope to say with your music?
S: That there is a place in our minds that is magical, safe, and warm. And as for inside of our hearts: everyone is welcome!
What’s your favorite Persian dish?
S: Fesenjoon with duck.
A: Joojeh Kabob!
What does a day in your life entail?
S: Coffee, work, school, study, ditch class to jam, leave work early to produce and practice music, get in trouble the next day at school and work for leaving early.
Gojeh Sabz or Zoghaalakhteh?
S: Mmmmmmm, BOTH!
A: I don’t like sour things.
Tehran or Tehroon?
What do you hope to say to the world with your music?
S: That the Persian culture is alive, well, and on the brink of evolving.
What is the message of your music to the new generation of Iranians?
S: Don’t get caught up in the past, who cares what people think, look ahead, evolve, and improve!