"Madman Of God"
1. Gereyley
2. The Candle and The Moth
3. Daylaman
4. Meykhaneh
5. Bade Saba
6. Negara
7. Hamcho Farad

This is how extraordinary Iranian vocalist Sussan Deyhim describes her first solo album: "Madman Of God is a collection of classic melodies taken from the Persian repertoire, which were composed around the poetry of Rûmi, Saadi, Djami and other Sufi writers from the 11th to the 19th centuries. These pieces are as well-known by my grandparents as they are by my own generation, and they represent the torch songs of classical Persian music"

The result is an inspired, exciting and deeply spiritual masterpiece. Deyhim and her sublime voice are surrounded by contributions from players as diverse as Iranian classical musician Reza Derakhshani, percussionist Glen Velez (a long-time collaborator of Steve Reich), veteran jazz bassist Reggie Workman (who has been heard alongside the likes of John Coltrane), percussionist Will Calhoun (who has drummed with Living Colour as well as with BB King) and others.

Although practically all the sounds are performed by acoustic instruments and voices, Sussan Deyhim's innovative arrangement and production have shaped "Madman Of God" into a very modern soundscape.

Born and raised in Tehran, Sussan Deyhim now lives in New York. She has been navigating between traditional music, electronics and avant-garde art. She has collaborated with Peter Gabriel (on "Passion"), with Bill Laswell, Jah Wobble, Bobby McFerrin, Adrian Sherwood, with cyber-guru Jaron Lanier and many more, including Richard Horowitz (with whom she recorded cult electro-avant-Persian album "Desert Equations" for Crammed's Made To Measure label in the late 80's) and Majoun, the band she formed with Horowitz, Doug Wimbish & Will Calhoun). "Turbulent", the video installation by Shirin Neshat of which Sussan is the central focus, has just won an award at the Venice Biennial, while Neshat's most recent piece (featuring Deyhim's music) will soon be presented in several prestigious museums and galleries in the USA and Europe.

In each culture there are moments, important moments, where a community is united in some kind of ritual; united, as if triggered by some sonic spiritual code. What this code is, a kind of alchemy, creates a place where people can let go of their differences. A timeless place.

A note by Sussan Deyhim

The material I've chosen for this album comes from that spiritual place in the Iranian community. Although for the past fifteen years my musical involvement has been primarily in the New York avant-garde, I have always been concerned with the realities of the classical Iranian art of singing, of women singing, an art which has been forbidden to exist for the past quarter century. This cultural tradition, a sacred art, has been quieted, silencing women - master musicians - and their creative spirits.

Given the type of wordless, incantational music I've written and performed in the past decade, I've rarely worked with languages of the past, opting for the psychic over the psychological. It's taken me a long time - despite my deep connection and love for Iranian classical music - to approach this sacred tradition of words in song.

I've always thought that working with this material needed extreme maturity of mind and heart, especially since expression of Sufi music transcends perfection in performance, being rather about a certain obsession with the journey. Working on Madman of God has taken me on that journey, providing me with an opportunity to embrace a language again. And what could be more profound for an Iranian than working in the poetic worlds of Rumi, Saadi, Djami, and others?

To work on this material I approached Reza Derakhshani, whom I've known since my teens in Tehran, both of us being involved with the Tehrani cultural scene - I as a dancer, he as an artist and musician. He helped me with collecting a wide variety of different pieces from the classical and traditional repertoires from which I chose these selections.

In the studio, however, I produced this album alone. My reason for doing so, crazy as it may seem, was born very much from the desire to live in the most intimate dialogue with the material, working all hours of the night in an effort to absorb myself completely and lose my sense of linear time.

With this in mind, I chose musicians fascinated with their own dedication, depth and, needless to say, master craftsmanship. I've shared deep musical moments with them all.

Sussan Deyhim, New York, Jan. 2000


1 GEREYLEY (Nocturnal Dialogue)
3 DAYLAMAN (Inextricable)
4 MEYKHANEH (Wine Cave)
5 BADE SABA (The Wind Of Saba)
6 NEGARA (Mesmerized Mirror)
7 HAMCHO FARHAD (Our Tears, Our Wine, Our Sight)
8 NAVAI (Savage Bird)

Produced, arranged and performed by Sussan Deyhim
featuring Reza Derakhshani (tar, setar, kamancheh, ney)
Glen Velez (daf, percussion)
Karsh Kale (tabla, percussion)
Will Calhoun (percussion)
Reggie Workman (acoustic bass)
Dawn Bukholtz Andrews (cello)
Hearn Gadbois (zarb)
Raz Mesinai (zarb)
Michael Harrison (tamboura)
Richard Horowitz (strings and sample arrangement on "Bade Saba")
Dave Soldier (violin on "The Candle...")


Shy Angels
Madman Of God
SUSSAN DEYHIM - Desert Equations
Desert Equations