GB 101LP GB 101LP

LP version. 180 gram vinyl; includes download code. Liraz, the highly touted Israeli-Persian singer, returns with a buoyant and border-busting new album. Shimmering electro-pop meets pulsing dance rhythms and retro Persian sonics. Includes clandestine collaborations with Iran-based musicians and composers. For her second album, Zan ("Women" in Farsi), the Israeli- Persian singer collaborated online with composers and musicians from Iran. Everything had to be secretive to avoid the gaze of Tehran's mullahs and secret police. The result is her private revolution, songs with a true message, music to make people dance and smile -- and above all, think. The songs on Zan are the fulfilment of a dream, taking Liraz deep into the soul of the country that fills her heart and populated the stories her parents told her as a child -- but one she's never seen. Her family, Iranian Jews, moved to Tel Aviv in the 1970s. Yet although Liraz was raised in Israel, she's always believed that "my culture is Iranian." The real revelation came when she moved to the US for three years to work as an actress, appearing in several big-budget movies, including A Late Quartet and Fair Game. In Los Angeles she found a huge Iranian community. When making Naz (2018), she wrote and sang in Farsi, the music at times exploring the sounds of pre-revolution Iranian pop music. On Zan, she worked with Iranian musicians, some anonymously, and let her voice and her music resonate further. One of those anonymous players, a female percussionist based in Tehran, features on the opening track, "Zan Bezan," (in English "Women, Sing") alongside Liraz's Israeli band. It's an insistent, catchy piece of electro-pop with heavy musical nods to Iranian pop stars of the 1970s like Googoosh; the message of female empowerment, however, is absolutely contemporary. Another secret Iranian collaborator worked on the powerful earworm that's "Joon Joon," where the dance beats erupt straight from a 1970s Tehran disco, while the big chorus implants itself in the brain and refuses to leave. Zan is an album of contrasts, like "Shab Gerye," the ballad that Liraz knew she needed to include "because the words and music fit so perfectly. It's a love song about reality," or the aching closer, "Lalai." The album continues breaking the walls her mother and aunts began to dismantle. But it does much more: it burrows under borders. It connects countries and cultures. Zan, Liraz insists, is the second chapter of the story that began with Naz. But it's also one that stands alone.