Intellectual beats for international week

By Nicole Kobie

Flattery will get you anywhere, right?

"University people are the intellectuals of society…[and] our music requires thinking," explains Amir Parviz Amiri of Persian fusion band Lambda.

Unlike on MTV, which features pre-chewed music where the industry opens your mouth, shoves it in and tells you to swallow, Lambda’s work requires intelligence to be truly enjoyed.

Self-described as "not mainstream," Amiri is sure people like his innovative style, whether he tailors it to them or not, which is why university students are his favoured audience. Students are more open-minded and have more appreciation for diverse, innovative music, he claims.

We’ll see if that holds true Fri., Feb. 9, at the Blue Banana Lounge. Performing as part of International week, Lambda is comprised of musicians Amiri, Brent Van Dusen, Elizabeth Stepkowski and Malcolm Lim.

"What we’re trying to do is incorporate Eastern melody and Western harmonies," explains Amiri of his percussion-based innovations.

Lambda was created for just that reason. Born in Iran, Amiri won a long-term residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1996. There he met Van Dusen, and together they began their dream project, Lambda.

Amiri’s career began when he was six when he learned classical Persian style. His life was full of musical study–Amiri toured Europe and Asia and trained with Ravi Shankar in New Dehli. However, Amiri also studied Computer Science, a burden he’s ecstatic to be free from now.

"I was going insane, literally," he says of his foray into the science world. "Music is my life, though. It’s my hobby, my career, it’s my focus, ever since I [can] remember."

Every day he lives through his music; in fact, daily life is the main inspiration for Amiri’s compositions. He translates his ideas into his drumming.

"People in the West think writers become inspired by candles and incense. That’s ridiculous," says Amiri. "Sometimes you don’t have anything to say."

And what idea does Amiri want to tell us through his music? He’s not sharing, but with good reason.

"[I’d rather] let your imagination run wild."


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