Mamak Khadem, vocals, has been called “one of the wonders of world trance music” by the Los Angeles Times. She has performed throughout the world, appearing at the Perth Concert Hall (Australia), the Greek Theater (Los Angeles), the Freer Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), the Museum of Folk Instruments (Greece), the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance (Ireland), House of Culture (Germany), California Plaza Grand Performances (Los Angeles), the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles), the World Festival of Sacred Music, (Los Angeles), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), and the Voices of Women Festival (Greece). An active recording artist in Hollywood, her voice can be heard in the films Traffic, Buffalo Soldier, Dracula 2000, and Persona Non Grata, as well as the television programs Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Dark Angels, and Profiler. She performed for Bahram Bayszai and Mohammad Reza Darvishi's theatrical production Majles-e Shabih at Tehran's City Theater in 2005. Formerly lead singer of the Persian-fusion band Axiom of Choice, she released her first solo album, Jostojoo/Forever Seeking, in 2007.
Jamshied Sharifi, keyboard, graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 1983, he was named Outstanding Pianist at the Collegiate Jazz Festival at the University of Notre Dame. From 1985 to 1992, he led the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, recording two CDs and winning the ensemble prize at the Collegiate Jazz Festival. In the field of film arranging and composing, he has done work for The Thomas Crown Affair, Muppets from Space, Down to Earth, Harriet the Spy, Clockstoppers, and The Rugrats Movie. Along with Mamak Khadem, he has served as arranger and producer for Tibetan vocalist Yungchen Lhamo and the fusion band Mo Boma. His own CD A Prayer for the Soul of Layla was named Best Contemporary World Music Album at the New Age Voice Music Awards. In 2006, he conducted the orchestra for Dream Theater's 20th Anniversary World Tour at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Hamed Saidi, santur and vocals, studied the Persian classical repertoire (radif) and santur under Madjid Kiani and earned his music degree at the Iranian Academy of the Arts. He has since performed in Greece, Ireland, Germany, Turkey, and the United States. He has also composed music for more than 30 films, television programs, and dance and theatrical presentations, including Javdanegi by Farshad Fereshtehekmat, Afsaneh Saheleh Tareek by Reza Davari, Letters from Tentland by Helena Waldman, and the dance production Avazhick at the Theatre Shahr in Tehran. His works have received awards at the Beirut Film Festival, the Iran Television Festival, and the Society of Critics of Theater in Iran. He tours regularly with Mamak Khadem and can be heard on her CD Jostojoo/Forever Seeking.
Ole Mathisen, clarinet and saxophones, earned his bachelor's degree from the Berklee College of Music and his master's degree in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music. In addition to his performing career, he is an active film and TV composer, record producer, and arranger. He performs widely in the New York jazz scene and is in high demand as a studio musician, appearing on more than 80 recordings. His interests encompass classical, jazz, electronic, ethnic, and experimental music. He has conducted jazz clinics and given private lessons in Japan, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, and Canada. He leads the group Anomaly, and is a member of SYOTOS, Afromantra, and NYNDK. He has recorded and performed with Badal Roy, William Kennedy, Steve Smith, Eddie Gomez, Rufus Reid, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, LaVerne Baker, Randy Brecker, Michael Gibbs, Harvie Swartz, Bill Bruford, Kenny Barron, and Bob Moses, among many others. He is on the music faculty of Columbia University.
Ben Wittman, percussion, tours regularly in Europe, the UK, Asia, and South America, with an eclectic roster of artists including Don Byron, Laurie Anderson, Erasure, Solas, Keiko Lee, Jiro Yoshida, Yungchen Lhamo, and the New York Voices. In high school, he studied drums with jazz greats Milfred Graves and Freddie Waits. He earned his bachelor's degree in jazz performance at the New England Conservatory of Music, playing on the side with Bob Moses, Mike Methany, Bruce Bartlett, Duke Levine, Ruthie Ristich, Brad Hatfield, and African percussionist and ethnomusicologist David Locke. He made a two-month musical tour of Ghana in 1984. He was a long-time collaborator with Spanish vocalist Olga Roman, performing Brazilian music. In 1993, he provided Cuban rhythms for a recording project with jazz clarinet great Don Byron. Since then, he has performed and recorded with such artists as Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, Jonatha Brooke, and Rosanne Cash.