mitra sumara 36 resized

(photo by Stephanie Woodard)

I'm involved in an exciting music project that has been brewing for several months and is just now seeing the light of day: a Persian rock band. Yes, you heard right. Iran had a vibrant pop music scene in the 1960s and '70s, before the Islamic revolution moved in. And now, 35 years later, vocalist/arranger/bandleader Yvette Perez is giving that music new life here in the Western Hemisphere.

The group, Mitra Sumara -- for that is our name -- had a test run at the Westbeth Center for the Arts last Sunday, and so far, all systems are go. Yvette sings all lyrics in Farsi. The lineup is as follows:

  • Yvette -- vocals (Birdbrain, H.E.R.)
  • Julian Maile -- guitar (Loser's Lounge)
  • Sam Kulik -- bass (Talibam!)
  • Jeff Hermanson -- trumpet (Stew and the Negro Problem, Yo La Tengo)
  • Peter Zummo -- trombone (Arthur Russell, Lounge Lizards)
  • Jim Duffy -- keyboard (Jim Duffy Combo, Martin's Folly, Rods and Cones)
  • Bill Ruyle -- hammer dulcimer and tabla (Arthur Russell)
  • Michael Evans -- drums and percussion (Alex Hacke, Anders Nilsson, God Is My Co-Pilot)


We'll have some public events coming up in November and December, so please stay tuned. This is some of the most challenging and rewarding music I have ever played. And to be on the bandstand with such high-caliber musicians is an honor. We have been rehearsing hard and often to get this music to bounce and shake the way it should.

Mitra Sumara. Say it a couple of times and it becomes natural.

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