ATASH is a brotherhood of musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds. The band’s sheer diversity reminds us that we are all bearers of unique cultural traditions rooted in different geographical places. Yet the budding, cross-cultural language that Atash aids in creating through the blending of these unique traditions is the musical parallel to an important message. The music of Atash suggests our potential to transform boundaries into opportunities, to translate fields of discord and difference into sites of collaboration.
Atash began in Austin, Texas, where musicians called The Gypsies started creating an exquisite fusion of world sounds as early as 1996. As personnel changed and their music evolved, in 2001 the group became Atash, a name which evokes the life-giving ritual fire of ancient Persia, and embarked on their first summer-long tour of the American West Coast. The group quickly won the hearts of even the unlikeliest of audiences, and returned to Austin triumphant, arriving home after 24 hours crossing the desert at 7am on September 11,2001. The events set in motion on that date changed the course of many things, including the path of Atash. Within two weeks they were back in L.A. for a 9/11 Disaster Relief Benefit Concert at the Sunset Room. When they returned to Austin, Atash began organizing collaborative concerts for peace with musicians from around the world. Atash has since toured in Europe, Asia and across North America captivating audiences, inspiring creativity, and building an international following of fans seeking an experience that touches upon both the unknown and the familiar.
One phrase frequently used to describe Atash is “world class”. The group’s members acknowledge the privilege of having the highest calibre of influences, having collaborated and/or mentored with greats such as Youssou N’Dour, Fairouz, Ali Akbar Khan, Simon Sha-heen, L. Subramaniam, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the Sun Ra Arkestra, Aashish Khan, Vigen, Francois Rabbath, Ram Narayan, Kazem A1 Saher, Chuck Rainey, Billie Joe Shaver and many other distinguished artists.
In concert Atash harnesses waves of pulsing energy that at one moment wash over audiences, bathing them in trance, and in another, abruptly stir them towards ecstatic movement. Accessible in performance yet committed to the details of the diverse music traditions they command, Atash at once embodies our universal appreciation for organized sound as well as the sacred and unspeakable depths of individual human experience. Put another way, Atash offers musical respite for all things danceable and tranceable.