Rostam Mirlashari – concert producer and the prince of Balochi music

“The singer Rostam Mirlashari must have one of Sweden’s most beautiful and seductive voices.”  Martin Nyström, music critic for Dagens Nyheter.

With his sensual singing voice and fervent style, Rostam Mirlashari has given Balochi music an international face. His ceaseless striving for a more peaceful world has even made him a concert producer with a number of unique productions behind him. Multi-cultural influences and diversity are Rostam’s trademark.

Born and raised in Baluchistan, a mountainous area in southern Iran, Rostam first encountered the magic of music through his mother’s lullabies. As a child, he often heard both his father and mother singing traditional folk songs, and he still draws inspiration today from these memories.

Throughout his journeys across the world, Rostam has experienced many other cultures, discovered treasure troves of ancient songs and learned a variety of traditional song techniques; something that permeate his artistes today, with world cultures meeting through the universal magical language of music.

“Rostam Mirlashari sings a capella. It’s incredibly beautiful and all of the notes are perfect. In the audience, we hold our breath. The music goes straight to our hearts.” Review in Integration in Focus, 2002.

In 1991, Rostam arrived in Sweden as a political refugee, immediately starting to study singing and music at Kulturama. He then continued to higher studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. At the Royal College of Music, Susanne Rosenberg introduced him to Swedish folk music, but it was perhaps his encounter with his countryman Abdulrahman Surizehi which was to make the greatest impression.

Abdulrahman Surizehi, who now lives in Norway, was known as the benju master of Balochi music, and it was he who taught Rostam everything he now knows about Balochi music. Today, Balochi music is Rostam’s speciality, and he is known as the “Prince of Balochi music” – even in his home country.

Inspired by this new knowledge, Rostam decided to create his first folk music band, the eight-piece ensemble Golbang (1994), which still tours across the globe with its unique mix of music from different parts of the world.

In addition to Golbang, Rostam has also been the initiator, composer and song arranger for: Shohaz (2001-2003), Padik (2002) and Sheida (2006-2007) together with the new stars Aramn and Rozhnak. All of Rostam’s bands share their mixture of music from different cultures, often including Persian, Balochi, Afghan, Kurdish, Swedish and sometimes even Norwegian musical influences. Rostam’s unique sound has achieved major success throughout the world and has led to appearances on everything from the Voice of America, the BBC and Pakistani TV shows to Swedish TV and radio programmes.

Rostam Mirlashari the concert producer with a vision for the world

In addition to his career as an artiste, Rostam is also an in-demand concert producer. His first production was the touring festival “Culture in Exile” in 2000, undertaken as part of a collaboration involving Södra Teatern. The festival programme consisted of exiled artistes from Iran, and the human warmth and striving for integration and diversity represented by this event have been constant themes in all of Rostam’s later productions.

In 2001 he founded Kista World Music Festival in collaboration with the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and Kista District Council. Today, the festival continues to present colourful world and folk music artistes from all over the world, and the aim is to inspire and increase the feeling of belonging in the suburb of Kista.

In 2003, Rostam started the Nowruz mini-festival in Stockholm, to celebrate Iranian new year and the spring equinox, and between 2005 and 2009 he produced the Kankarsh youth festival in Kista and the City of Stockholm. His latest project is Pangean Rhythm, which Rostam initiated in 2007. Pangean Rhythm is a tour network for international artistes within world and folk music.

Rostam’s production company is called Farhang; you can find more information about its various projects on the company’s website. For recordings involving Rostam, see the music & video page.

Curious facts:

  • In 2013, Rostam broke viewing records when he took part in the Pakistani TV show Coke Studio Pakistan.
  • He introduced world music to the Swedish Melodifestivalen competition through his participation as the performer and songwriter of the song “In my dreams (Mani armani taha)” in 2007.
  • Rostam has been involved as a vocalist in several different projects, one of them being Kvintessens!, led by Anders Nyberg.

Album:

1998 – Omit (solo project)
2000 – Padik (solo project)
2000 – Golbang (Golbang)
2003 – Saali Nó (Golbang)
2007 – Sheida (Sheida, single)
2008 – Nouruz (Golbang, EP)
2009 – Setareh (Golbang)
2009 – Hela Världen (Anders Nyberg ensemble, a compilation album on which Rostam performs)
2012 – Morid (Golbang, EP)
2013 – Padik (Padik)