Haunting and spiritual, driving and hypnotic, “Peaceful Sounds from the Axis of Evil” is the first chance for North American audiences to experience the collaboration between former Doors’ drummer John Densmore and master Persian musician Reza Derakshani.
“This as a beautiful hybrid between two countries that are turning more and more bellicose,” is how Densmore describes the music he makes with the Iranian-born Reza. “We’re not politicians, but I wanted Americans to see the face and hear the sounds of the Iranian people.”
It’s a collaboration born of respect and mutual appreciation of the power of music. Densmore first met Reza a few years ago at a conference hosted by poet Robert Bly. Immediately struck by the shy Iranian musician’s charisma and talent, Densmore later sought out Reza at the latter’s New York apartment. Playing together, Densmore knew he was in the presence of a something special, that Reza was “a singer of unique and transcendent power.” Given that Densmore first gained fame drumming behind Jim Morrison in the Doors, that’s quite a compliment. Their impromptu jam eventually led to “Ray of the Wine” (Stonemountain Entertainment), an album of Reza’s songs produced and arranged by Densmore. The sounds they create bridge the differences between their countries. “Music is non-verbal. It’s direct and right to the heart and we can commiserate through our thoughts and emotions.” Besides, he notes with a grin, it’s a collaboration that will make both country’s leaders uncomfortable. “The Iranian leadership just banned Western music, and here we are making music that combines classic Persian sounds with jazz, rock and folk.”
The two friends will be accompanied in concert by members of Densmore’s band, Tribaljazz. In addition to music from the album, Reza will recite poems by his favorite poet, Rumi, while Densmore will read selections from various Iranian blogs. Looking forward to the tour, which includes dates in Washington D.C., Toronto and Montreal, Densmore says the shows will begin on “a meditative note but by the end, we hope to get everyone on their feet and dancing.” Future dates are being planned.
Peaceful Sounds From the Axis of Evil:
June 14 Washington, D.C. Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage
June 16 Toronto, CAN Lula Lounge
June 17 Montreal, CAN Theatre Le National