Born and raised in Tehran at the time of Iran-Iraq war, Golnar Shahyar is a singer, multi instrumentalist and composer based in Vienna, Austria. She started her first musical training on the piano in Iran at the age of 11. At 16 she moved with her family to Canada and got her bachelor degree in Biology from York university in Toronto. Her passion for music and singing led her to Vienna in 2008 and a year after that, she started her studies in jazz singing and guitar at the university of music and performing arts Vienna. With her different bands, Choub, Sehrang, Gabbeh and lately Golnar & Mahan, Golnar is one of the pioneers of mixing Iranian music with jazz and improvised music. Her bands Sormeh and Choub were nominated as the New Austrian Sound of Music (NASOM). She got three times the nomination for Austrian World Music Awards with her different projects and her music with her trio Sormeh made it to the top ten in the world music charts in Europe. Since a few years she has been touring internationally with her different projects playing in many well known jazz and world music festivals and venues world wide.
So far, she has recorded three albums with her bands Sormeh, Choub and Sehrang and also has had the chance to play and record side by side with internationally renowned musicians such as Erkan Ogur, Alain Perez, Pavel Urkize, Hadar Noiberg, Luis Verra, Alegre Correa, Alex Simu, etc.
Her colourful voice ranging from the very low registers to the very high is an example of a cosmopolitan voice and her ability to adapt to many different music styles has made her a cosmopolitan musician. Born and raised in Iran she has the Iranian and oriental music as her base but is also very strongly influenced by almost any music she can get her ears to hear and her heart to feel. From oriental ornamentations and avaz to African rhythmic and improvised singing, from experimenting with the voice to the clearness of spiritual early church music, from the playfulness of pop singers to story telling of the singer songwriters, from the emotional explosions of the flamenco singers to the intimacy and calmness of bossa nova or the daring improvisations of the jazz singers, Golnar’s singing and music possess a strong musical diversity, which represents her unique charackter and is profoundly performed with a touch of playfulness.
“Golnar Shahyar is one of the great and new talents in the Austrian music scene…with a voice full of nuances, her hypnotic charm and strong presence on stage, she has everything necessary for a great singer.” - Ernst Perrin-Vogel, 2015
"Beim Nachfolgealbum „Choub“ (2012) war bereits Shahyar mit an Bord und lieh dem Quartett den ätherischen Glanz ihrer außerweltlichen Stimme. Ihr Gesangsstil kombiniert tribalistischen Sprechchorgesang, Scat-Singing und mit Tahrir eine spezielle Art des vorderasiatischen Jodelns." - Bayerische Jazzweeken 2017
"Golnar Shahyar „ist eine exzellente Sängerin, die ihre persischen Wurzeln einbindet, aber nicht vor sich her- trägt“. - Sylke Merbold vom Bayerischen Jazzinstitut 2017