In a unique cohesion of elements from both non-traditional jazz and Persian music, the new album from Kate Pass Kohesia Ensemble is set to be released on Friday, October 8, along with a preview show at The Rechabite in Perth on Friday, September 24.

Led by double bassist Kate Pass, Silver Lining is a nod to the opportunities that have come from life in a global pandemic, and features original compositions as well as new works from Iranian/Australian instrumentalists Esfandiar Shahmir and Reza Mirzaei.

The group’s second album emerged from a sell-out season at Fringe World Festival, where they performed Shahnameh: Songs of the Persian Book of Kings, chosen for its powerful and emotional stories that invoke connection around the world. The ensemble’s interpretation of the 10th century Persian epic by Abolqasem Ferdowsi, with its emphasis on improvisation and storytelling through music, resonated with audiences, and they were awarded the 2020 Martin Sims Award for best new Western Australian work “destined to succeed on the world’s stage.”

The award came with a $10,000 prize, and ordinarily, this would have been used for international touring, but given the COVID-19 pandemic, Pass explored options that would allow them to re-purpose the prize money. “We decided to put the prize towards recording an album, which featured many of the original songs from the FRINGE shows” Pass said. “Our inability to tour ended up having a silver lining – it enabled us to record the album in Perth.”

As the recording was only weeks after their Fringe World season, the ensemble were able to draw on the energy of live performance and familiarity of the songs that only comes from performing them night after night. The result is a creation of something new, rather than “fusing” two genres, not strictly traditional Persian music, nor jazz, but something else entirely. A unique sound combining the sounds of Persian flute (ney), percussion (daf) lute (saz) and oud with jazz instruments that celebrates the energy and emotion of live performance.

Kate Pass’ interest in Persian music began when she joined a band called Daramad with Kohesia co-members Reza Mirzaei and Mike Zolker, as well as Saeed Danesh. After forming a band with Tehran- born vocalist Tara Tiba, Pass started to explore a convergence between Persian music and improvised jazz and went on to form Kohesia Ensemble.

Kate Pass released her debut album with Kohesia Ensemble in 2018, and has since won and been nominated for a slew of awards, as well as being the recipient of several grants and scholarships including the ECU Academic Excellence Scholarship, WAYJO Jack Bendat Travel Scholarship and ArtStart Australian Council for the Arts.

While this new album reflects on seeing the positives and opportunities from within, it is written (and recorded) with the audience and the performance front and centre, to make for a captivating live show.

Kate Pass Kohesia Ensemble will perform a preview of their second album Silver Lining at The Rechabite Hall on Friday, September 24, before releasing the album on CD and digitally on Friday, October 8. For more info and to buy tickets head to megatix.com.au

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