It’s in Reunion Island that the Iranian, Arash Kalatbari has lived since 2001, and has recorded his new album, Isis Island. An electro-world album enriched by his numerous journeys, either real or imaginary.
His first trip, that of his childhood, had him leave Teheran in 1984, five years after the Iranian Revolution and in the middle of the Iran- Iraq war. At 14 he had his first taste of Paris, the city of a thousand sounds and a thousand cultures.
His first musical experiments were on the ironwork of his bed or any other object that was potentially musical which rapidly gave way to many different exchanges. From his grandparents’ village on the edge of the Caspian Sea and the sound of gypsy music, and has continued to grow musically thanks to chance meetings with artists from Africa, North Africa and with other experimental electro performers from the European scene. The German avant-garde scene and traditional world music have nourished his musical universe. Percussionist autodidact, Arash Kalatbari, lives off the mix of things. At 14, with his group, Vox Populi, he distilled a mix of ethnicity and released in the 80s 3 LP’s and several compilations with the label VISA.
He participated in the musical creation for Tour de Babel, a theatre group, based on world mythologies. He created in 1994, with Dierdre Dubois and Mehdi Haddab, the tiro Ekova ( signed with the Label SONY in France and SIX/DEGREES/USA), whose subtle electro-world mix found a fan base on the release of their first album, crowned with success from FAIR and the selection of the Ile-de- France region at the Printemps de Bourges.
Ekova toured Europe, the USA, Canada, Russia with around 50 dates each year, and played the opening act of The Cure during their Zenith Tour in 2000. He signed the score of Noor for the Redha Ballet. Alongside his adventure with Ekova, Arash Kalatbari continued to drink from the cup of his chance meetings and exchanges, working notably in projects from the Parisian world-scene (Iranian, Kurd, Turkish, African, Comorian with Nawal, Indian with Susheela Raman, Jewish with Sara Alexander). He continued his quest on a more personal side, both philosophical and sociological. Once his Architect’s Degree obtained, he worked several years rehabilitating different difficult areas of the Parisian suburbs while continuing his research on the theme of ‘Mystical, space and territories’.
A quest also linked to his music, with his first solo album, In la Chapelle, released in 2010 on the Label Iris/Harmoniamundi which is the name of the district that he lived in, and he is at the moment preparing a PhD in Sociology, developing the theme of interactions between individuals and their habitat. The researcher –musician is convinced of the link that unites music and territories, whether it be the urban universe of electro, or the transcendental melodies which cross borders and ages.
His latest album is a reflection of this large palette of talents, an electro-world; urban, but at the same time, universal. The machines flow alongside the percussions, flutes and string instruments, sounding African, Oriental and Parisian while blending in the ternary rhythm ever present in Reunion. So many ethnic influences that he is proud to play and produce the melodies and programs both on the album and live on scene. Arash Kalatbari, completely seduced by Ile Bourbon has adopted its Latin motto “Florebo quocumque ferar’ which in English means ‘I will flower everywhere I am planted’. Three artists from Reunion are guests on his album, Mado from Lindigo, Yann Costa and Donnadieu, as well as another fan of Reunion Island Fixi, the accordionist from Java.
In 2011, he shot a documentary with the English documentary director Sogand Bahram on the theme of identity, migration, being Creole and music with Nathalie Natiembé, Dyniel Waro, Lindigo and Jako Maron. The musician admits that his music is brighter and more joyful since he has lived here, in the Indian Ocean. It seems to be the fruit of many years of reflection and mystical experience. It is hypnotic, calming and in its electro-world wayfaring. Isis Island resounds of music from around the world to an electro beat, all the better to see the infinite from the present moment.