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  SAAZ Afghan Ensemble
Source: Hamed Shalizi  SAAZ Bookmark and Share Afghanland.com: Afghan music has a long and varied artistic heritage. SAAZ Afghan Fusion Ensemble creates a world of vibrant color and art as the musical history of Afghanistan is brought to life and transformed. The four artists of the ensemble transcend historical, geographical, and cultural boundaries, illustrating the beauty and complexity of Afghan culture through music. 

"Saaz", meaning "music" in Dari and Pashtu (the official two languages of Afghanistan), creates a fusion of traditional and modern music with its distinct blend of Eastern and Western traditions. The musicians of SAAZ are fluent in the classical traditions of East and West, further blending the Ensemble's sound. 



Saaz Afghan Fusion

First Performance at Samsung Hall San Francisco 3/18/04

Saaz Upcoming Performances

San Francisco Jazz Festival
Wednesday, September 29, 2004 at 12 noon 
Levi's Plaza, The Embarcadero at Battery Street, 

San Francisco

Freight & Salvage Coffee House
Monday, October 11, 2004 at 8:00 pm
1111 Addison Street, Berkeley


About the Ensemble: The artists of Ensemble studied and performed their respective instruments in Afghanistan before the political regime limited musical pursuits. They currently reside in California and are the recipients of a prestigious Creative Work Fund grant, awarded in 2003. 

Hamed Shalizi
Hamed Shalizi (keyboards & harmonium) began his studies at the age of thirteen at Kabul School of Music. There he studied music theory and learned to play the piano in the Western classical style. After leaving Afghanistan in 1985, Hamed learned Eastern Classical Raga system, common in Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent, from the harmonium master Saadiq Pendiwali. Hamed continued his musical pursuits after moving to the United States in the late 1980s. He studied voice and harmonium with Rita Sahai and Genish Tewari. Hamed has accompanied on tour several distinguished Afghan vocalists such as Ustad Farida Mahwash and Haidar Saleem 

Hamed Shalizi Performing on Keyboard

Azam Parvanta (acoustic & electric guitars) was born into a musical family in Afghanistan. He began studying Afghan classical music at a young age. In the 1970's, Parvanta formed the musical group Stars which became one of the most popular and successful bands in Kabul. Stars was known for its creativity in fusing Eastern and Western music styles. The Stars' collaborative album with Afghanistan's leading pop star, Ahmad Zahir, was a phenomenal success. Parvanta emigrated to the United Azam and Wali Parvanta on Guitar and Khaled Shalizi on Tabla States in 1978. Soon after he formed the band Studio East, performing a mix of Eastern and Western music at various music venues throughout the United States, shaping the style that would evolve into SAAZ's distinct fusion sound. 

Khalid Shalizi (tabla) began learning tabla at the age of fourteen. He learned theory of tabla from Mahesh Dalwey at the Center for Culture and Art in Kabul, Afghanistan. In the early 1990's, he joined tabla classes in Berkeley, California, taught by the Master Ustad Zakir Hussain. Khalid plays the semi-classical style of tabla, mainly accompanying vocalists who sing ghazal, a style rich in poetry popular in Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent. IFarhad Azad Introduces SAAZ Membersn Saaz, Khalid accompanies instruments with rhythms that are, to some extent, a blend of Eastern and Western beats as well as rhythms that are unique to Afghan music. Currently, Khalid is student of the renowned classical tabla performer, Arup Chattapadya at the University of California, San Diego. 

Wali Parvanta (acoustic guitar) comes from a musical family and learned Afghan classical music from his father at a young age. Parvanta moved to Germany in 1979 to attend the Johannes Brahms Conservatory, where he studied guitar, piano and classical music theory. He continued his musical activities when he moved to the United States in 1983. There he joined the band Studio East with his brother, Azam, and played guitar and tabla. 

Second Performance Berkeley California 3/19/03

Guest Artist: Mahmood Etemadi (percussion and guitar) played in various bands in Kabul in the 1970's, mainly performing fusion-style Afghan music. Etemadi recently produced two music CDs, Wave of the Past and Can You Hear Me?. 

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