CMU Approved

Approved: Liraz

By | Published on Tuesday 8 September 2020


Liraz released her debut album, ‘Naz’, in 2018, on which she blended modern music with 70s Iranian pop sounds to striking effect. Now she is set to release the follow-up, ‘Zan’, this year, the results of a project that saw her secretly collaborate with musicians in Iran to add new depth to her sound.

Although born and raised in Tel Aviv, a connection to her family’s Persian roots was awakened while she was living in Los Angeles working as an actor. There she discovered a large Iranian community.

“I heard this music from before the revolution and I started to collect it”, she says. “Some was by women who didn’t stop singing after the revolution, as they were supposed to do. They left Iran so they could continue and I heard the courage in their voices. That made me realise I didn’t want to act, I wanted to sing”.

She then began making music of her own, singing entirely in Farsi – “the language of my parents [and] the only way I could connect to my heritage”, she says – which resulted in ‘Naz’. After that album was released, musicians living in Iran began to get in touch and the idea of working together remotely began to form.

“At first the idea seemed like a fantasy”, she explains. “But I had a lot of luck. Some people in Iran had found ‘Naz’ and got in touch online. Musicians sent me videos; some wrote every day. I posted questions, asking about different players and instruments”.

“Over a year and a half, the songs for ‘Zan’ took shape”, she adds. “Some were scared, since helping like this was against the law, and asked me not to use their names”.

The songs on the album tell the stories of women in Liraz’s family, as told to her through her life by her parents. “I sing because of these women, to them, for them”, she says.

“My grandmothers were engaged when they were eleven and twelve and married at fifteen”, she continues. “They both had many children, but they had so much passion for life. I grew up with so many crazy stories about these women. My mother broke down the walls around women. So did my aunt. I watched them since I was a child. They fought for their freedom, and I’m fighting for mine, telling the stories about them in my songs”.

The first single from the album, ‘Zan, Bezan’ (‘Women, Sing’), was released last year. The finished ten track LP will be released through Glitterbeat on 13 Nov. Listen to new single, ‘Injah’ (‘Here’), here: