1-2 Weeks

GB 128LP GB 128LP

LP version. The new third album from award-winning Israeli-Persian singer Liraz is an invitation to dream. Anthems, love ballads, glittery Middle Eastern dance tunes -- a collection of 11 tracks that enrich that signature blend of tradi-modern rhythms and retro-Persian sonics. Liraz and her Israeli sextet (three women, three men) recorded Roya over ten days in Istanbul, in a basement studio hidden from public view and crackling with creativity. With them, on violin, viola and the tar, the wasp-waisted wooden Iranian lute, were composers and musicians from the Iranian capital, Tehran. The same clutch of anonymous players who previously collaborated with Liraz online, under the radar of Tehran's secret police, for her feted 2020 album, Zan (GB 101CD/LP, 2020). Players who'd travelled undercover from Tehran to Istanbul to work with Liraz and producer/multi-instrumentalist Uri Brauner Kinrot in the flesh. Featuring music written by bassist Amir Sadot, "Doone Doone" is a rollicking ode to the Tehrani musicians Liraz befriended through computer screens. "Mimiram" delivers dramatic protestations of love with knowing irreverence; while "Omid" -- with lyrics by an anonymous Iranian female musician and music by Zan co-writer Ilan Smilan -- tells of a man named Hope and of hope, who is also a man. A slow, lonely song about Iran, the string-and-synth-driven "Tanha" was recorded on the day the Iranians may or may not have arrived in Istanbul. Her Hebrew accent intact, her confidence boosted by prestigious awards (Songlines Artist of the Year 2021) and widespread international acclaim, Liraz has never sounded so passionate, so strong and defiant. Roya, then, is the next phase of a high-profile career further distinguished by a drive to fight oppression, to champion the right of women everywhere to sing, perform and be heard. Liraz grew up dancing to the music of divas such as Ramesh and Googoosh celebrated in Tehran in the '60s and '70s, the golden age of Persian pop. She also loved female singer-songwriters: Kate Bush, Tori Amos. Lessons in singing, music and acting -- and a stint spent clubbing - were followed by three years working in the US as an actress, appearing in the big budget films such as Fair Game and A Late Quartet. Liraz also appeared as a Farsi-speaking Mossad operative in the 2020 Apple TV espionage series Tehran. In Tehrangeles -- the Little Tehran of Los Angeles -- she found her people, embraced her inner Persian. With each album, Liraz has grown bolder, more outspoken (ask her about Palestine and she'll extol Palestinian rights, too). Recorded in secrecy in Istanbul with her band from Tel Aviv and risk-defying Iranian musicians from Tehran. A musical portal to a place of peace, joy and unfettered freedom.