Vocalis, Composer, Lyricist, Vocal Coach

© Ina Aydogan


It takes a lot of courage to stand on stage and let your voice take you to places. It takes even more courage to come from a place where doing so has been and until this day is forbidden for women. Golnar Shahyar took that courage in her early 20s to choose the life of a musician and a singer. Born and raised in Tehran/Iran at the time of Iran-Iraq war, she has a lot to say about the silenced voices of men and women of her generation and her personal journey that made her who she has become today. Starting relatively late in the field of music, she has managed to reach the international stages and festivals within a very short time. Not to mention that she started playing the guitar at 28 just to be able to get closer to what she wanted to express in her compositions and performances. She sees her journey as the continuation of the struggles and attempts of the people of her generation and the generations before her for freedom of expression and equality. 
She speaks the language of music and through it, has learned to build bridges between many cultures. Her music and singing shows it all; compassion, hope, courage, anger, cruelty, pain, ecstasy, etc. Her singing is simple yet very complex, dynamic and full of surprises, belonging to nowhere and everywhere. No matter if she sings in Farsi, English, Kurdish, turkish or her own fantasy language, it is easy to get lost in her voice for she sings strait from the heart telling stories that is shared by everyone. 

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 ‘s degree in Biology from York University in Toronto. She moved to Vienna in 2008 and in 2009 began to study jazz singing and guitar at the city’s renowned University of Music and Performing Arts.
She did numerous collaborations in the field of theater, dance and concerts. As the lead singer of her many bands, Sormeh, Choub, Gabbeh, Golnar & Mahan and her solo act GOLNAR, she has won many nominations and was selected by NASOM program, 6 years in the row to represent Austrian music scene world wide.
So far she produced and published four albums with her bands Sormeh, Choub, Sehrang and Golnar & Mahan and she is now working on new material for her solo album in 2018. 
She has had the privilege to play and record side by side with internationally renowned musicians such as Erkan Ogur, Alain Perez, Mahan Mirarab, Wolfgang Puschnig, Pavel Urkize, Cymin Samavatian, Hadar Noiberg, Haggai Cohen Milo, Luis Verra, Alegre Correa, Alex Simu, etc. She has also been internationally on the road for some years playing in venues and festivals such as Berliner Philharnomie, Konzerthaus, Musikverein Wien, Jazz Fest Wien, Jazz & the City, Rudolfstadt Jazz Festival, etc. 
From oriental Tahrir 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 voice and music is diverse and represent her life philosophy and unique musicality which in combination with her hypnotic charm and strong stage presence, gives her everything necessary for a great singer/performer or simply a musician.