Hometown: Sydney via Baghdad
Web site: http://www.azadoota.com
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With the familiarity of pop-rock, the spicy heat of Latin rhythms and the mysterious sounds of an ancient language, Azadoota rouse unsuspecting pub-goers to their feet and onto dance-floors across the world.
Pitching their music directly at a mainstream audience, Azadoota hit the pub circuit for the first time back in 1996, making them one of Australia’s longest-established Worldbeat bands.
Songwriter and front man Robin Zirwanda is a native of Iraq, where his people, the Assyrians, can trace their ancestors back nearly 7000 years. He sings in his native Assyrian Neo-Aramaic language, once the lingua franca of the civilised world but now considered to be in danger of extinction.
The band perform a repertoire of catchy originals, which extends from percussive dance tunes to sexy love songs, to solid funk, roots-rock and a touch of reggae - always conveying an irrepressible sense of celebration.
Robin’s musical background as a percussionist is clearly evident as he fronts the band with timbales and doumbek his tools of trade, twirling his drumsticks as he switches effortlessly from Cuban rhythms to those of his home country. Magic happens when fellow Iraqi Ahmed Al Karawi lets rip on the electric oud, shredding the instrument’s 11 strings with virtuosic dexterity.
2013 sees the band introduce LA-trained jazz-fusion heavyweight Danny John on electric guitar. Drummer Joey Pangilinan has returned from 18 months studying at the elite Drummers Collective in New York, and the supremely talented groovy young bass-player Alvin Ash completes the line-up.
In costumes derived from Ancient Assyrian dress, traditional folk dance costume and contemporary street wear, the band draw the audience in with theatrical musicality, presenting a tight, well-crafted and highly entertaining show.
Azadoota’s two commercial releases, 2008’s “Planetarian” and 2011’s “Beyond Bridges” have garnered rave reviews at home and overseas. The band have performed at a diverse range of venues, from the tiniest bush halls to the most well-known festivals.
The spirit of their music spans genres and generations; bikies start bopping, folkies let loose, emo kids smile and hippies go berserk whenever Azadoota take the stage.
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