1001 Nights Orchestra
Conceptualized and led by Kamran Hooshmand, 1001 Nights Orchestra has entranced Austin with the music and culture of the Middle East since the late 1980's. A member of the first Middle Eastern Ensemble at the University of Texas, Kamran began hosting a Middle Eastern music gathering in 1987 called 1001 Nights at a small acoustic venue in Austin called Chicago House. In the beginning, the music consisted of almost all Persian and Iranian folk and acoustic pop music. As more musicians were invited to perform, these evenings became known as a monthly Middle Eastern open mike series called Mahfel or festive gathering. These gatherings became very popular, often filling the club to capacity. From this emerged the musical experience called 1001 Nights. The group's original repertoire has expanded to include songs that range from Southwest Asia and the Caucuses in the East to the shores of the Mediterranean in the West, as well as many original compositions. The group's size has also changed throughout the years ranging from a ten-piece orchestra on special occasions to the present number of four musicians at its core. Guest musicians are often invited to join for special events. Each member of the group brings his/her own flavor and expertise to the band. Kamran Hooshmand brings the sounds of his native Iran and Persian music with the oud, guitar, rabab, santour, saz, and vocals; Ken Maranian's playing marks a distinctive sound from Armenia and the Caucuses on the clarinet, zurna...
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