GolNar - The Voice Poet

Golnar Shahyar - Voice, Guitar, Piano




In Persian, "Golnar" means the flower of Pomegranate. Here, it represents a journey or rather the emotional imprints of a woman who sees her music as the reflection of her changing identity and the coming together of many different worlds, just like the pomegranate grains all together in one body. 

Golnar Shahyar is a Viennese based vocalist/composer/performer/lyricist who has already made a name for herself as the lead singer of her bands Sormeh, Choub, Gabbeh, and Golnar & Mahan. She has been performing internationally for years in many renowned venues and festivals and has done many dance and theatre collaborations.

"The hypnotic polyphonic weave of Golnar Shahyar s voice, her guitar or piano, takes place so naturally as a floating story about the diversity of life, crossing her fondling fingers over your mind and heart." (Danas Newspaper). Golnar s musical signature is her ability to connect different music styles and cultures in such an organic way that makes the complexity of her compositions and singing almost effortless. Her voice is powerful yet very subtle and covers a whole range of emotions. In her performances, she creates an atmosphere where authenticity, vulnerability, and empathy are celebrated as a strength. "I don t play to please," she says, "I play, to be honest." She sings in many languages; Farsi, English, Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, Sephardic, etc., and sometimes compromises the actual language for her fantasy language to be more authentic. Being a true improviser, she continually breaks out of her comfort zone in her performances and seeks to make a new musical dialogue. The core of her work is communication, personal expression, and storytelling. 

In her solo project GolNar she writes and sings about human essence, emotions, and social struggles. Her compositions introduce a fresh musical narrative in the art of songwriting inspired by microtonal music of south/east Asia, west African Wassoulou music, contemporary jazz, European chamber music and improvisation. Her lyrics are deliberate yet straightforward and direct. They pass through personal experience, cultural and gender identities, and speak to the audience in an empathetic and unifying way. 


"Golnar is a millennium voice. The only voice that ever moved me to tears when I saw her live. Every single note she sings contains incredible magic." - Mira Lu Kovacs  


Golnar Shahyar - Voice, Guitar, Piano
Mahan Mirarab - Guitar, Fretless Guitar, Oud
Amir Wahba - Percussion


Multi-instrumental, multi-lingual and multi-cultural, Golnar & Mahan is the definition of a real cosmopolitan band.

Golnar Shahyar and Mahan Mirarab have been two inseparable musical partners since they first met in Vienna in 2011. Both, influenced by the Iranian culture, they specialise in blending jazz with oriental folk, polyrhythm grooves, Afro-Cuban and European classical music elements. They have created a new way of story-telling in which the lyrics, mostly in Farsi and English, and the compositions go hand in hand. They have been performing internationally with their different bands and produced three CDs under the names of “Choub” and “Sehrang”. Their latest CD “Derakht”, from Golnar & Mahan Trio, together with the Austrian power-house percussionist, Amir Wahba, is said to be “a true masterpiece” by the critics.

Golnar Shahyar s voice being »one of the most powerful sounds you can ever witness« combines tribal chanting with scat singing and Tahrir (a form of oriental yodelling). Mahan Mirarab with his double neck guitars, plays effortlessly between jazz and oriental scales and hypnotises with his groovy, fine and virtuous playing. Amir Wahba, with his unique percussion set, takes the groovy character of the trio to another dimension. 

Together with their compositions and improvisations, these three virtues players, create such powerful groovy and lyrical sound that one could claim they re-define the paradigms of world music and jazz. “...Singing like a bird, Golnar tweets gracefully on top of the noble masters, Mahan and Amir. Immensely enchanting, Golnar & Mahan’ s concert is a real symposium of art and philosophy accompanied with inspiring musical harmony between the band members.” - Danas Newspaper.”

Their music transcends geographical and language barrier.” - All About Jazz 
"A musical experience that takes you, in the most beautiful and gentle way, to another distant dimension." - Mica Austria
"When Golnar Shahyar sings, you can easily forget everything else around. The trio is an enrichment to the Austrian music scene." - Helmut Jasper (Ö1)
"With "Derakht" Golnar & Mahan deliver an album that really gets under the skin and while magically attracts with every sound, has an intense effect and simply does not let go until the end. Golnar Shahyar, Mahan Mirarab and Amir Wahba perform a true masterpiece on their debut album, one that will definitely not go unnoticed for its extraordinary beautiful and lyrical sound." - Mica Austria

Golnar Shahyar - Voice, Percussion

Mona Matbou Riahi - Clarinet

Manu Mayr - Kontrabass


Der Gabbeh ist eine Spielart des persischen Teppichs, der traditionell von nomadisch lebenden Frauen geknüpft wird. Das Besondere an ihm ist, dass seine abstrakten, geometrischen Muster und kräftigen, großflächigen Farben keiner bestimmten Vorgabe folgen. Sie entwickeln sich sehr individuell aus den Stimmungen und Gefühlen ihrer Schöpferinnen, aus ihren Gedanken, die ihnen während des Webens durch den Kopf gehen. Man könnte die Gabbeh-Weberin als eine Erzählerin beschreiben, die ihre eigene Lebensgeschichte und die Geschichten anderer in die Fäden, Farben und Muster ihres Teppichs einschreibt.

Das Ensemble Gabbeh lebt in Wien und lässt sich vom selben Konzept inspirieren: Es greift Fäden auf und führt sie zusammen. Seine musikalischen Texturen und Gestaltungen entwickeln sich aus dem offenen Raum der Improvisation und wurzeln in der vitalen Vielfalt traditioneller iranischer Folklore. Ein vielstimmiges Gewebe aus den erinnerten Fragmenten persischer Kinderlieder, Reiseerzählungen und Lebenslinien und ihrem Nachklang in der Wiener Diaspora. Zwei Welten, vielfach gespiegelt, gebrochen und neu zusammengefügt. 

"Schillernde Klänge - sensationell das Ensemble Gabbeh mit der Sängerin Golnar Shahyar, der Klarenettistin Mona Matbbou Riahi und dem Kontrabassisten Manu Mayr. An der Schnittfläche von iranischer Folklore und Improvisiertem entfachte das Ensemble eine faszinierend-schillernde Klangfläche, von deren Eindringlichkeit man gänzlich eingenommen wurde." - Krone 26.4.2013

"Herrlich mitanzusehen, wie hoch konzentriert diese Musikerinnen gemeinsam zu Werke gehen. Der Gabbeh, einpersischer Teppich nomadischer Frauen, folgt keiner Vorgabe, verwebt gewissermaßen Gedanken und Gefühle seiner Schöpferinnen. Klagend, leidenschaftlich oder still. Ein famoser Abend, ein gänzlich verzaubertes Publikum." - Neues Volksblatt 26.4.2013

Vienna World Orchestra

Golnar Shahyar - Voice
Paul Dangl - Violin
Efe Turumtay - Violin
Simon Schellneger - Viola
Rina Kacinari - Cello
Mahan Mirarab - Guitar
Ariel Ramirez - Bass
Jörg Mikula - Drums


Vienna World Music Orchestra strahlt auf der Bühne jene Tonfrequenzen aus, die uns unabhängig vom sogenannten Migrationshintergrund zusammenfinden lassen. Ist das jetzt Jazz, oder World, oder Klassik, oder Pop, oder E, oder U oder? Kategorisierungen verkommen zur Nebensache. Im Mittelpunkt stehen die Menschen, die ihre Musik teilen und hier in Wien regelmäßig zusammenfinden. Im Mittelpunkt stehen aber auch die Instrumente, seien sie traditionell oder modern. Es macht keinen Unterschied. Die Musik des VWO ist eine Zustandsbeschreibung der Wiener Welt. Die Mitglieder des VWO verkörpern diesen Zustand mit viel Engagement und dem berühmten goldenen Wiener Herz. 
Das VWMO erspart den Arzt und gibt Kraft für eine gemeinsame Zukunft – nicht nur in Wien.