Formed in 2005, Niyaz is a band based in Los Angeles that consists of Azam Ali, Loga Ramin Torkian and Carmen Rizzo. Azam Ali and Loga Ramin Torkian were and remain members of previous groups (Vas and Axiom of Choice, respectively) and Carmen Rizzo is a solo artist, half of Povi and a prolific producer. They came together to produce an album of world-dance music. Most of the songs on the self-titled album are recorded in either Urdu or Farsi, both of which Ali speaks fluently.
Azam was born in Iran but raised in India, where she started singing at an early age, absorbing the rich cultures of both countries. Her early music influences include the English soprano Emily Van Evera and singing-medieval- mystic-visionary-composer and abbess, Hildegard Von Bingen. Loga Ramin Torkian plays guitar, the saz, and rabab, while Carmen Rizzo does all the programming; keyboards, synthesizers and drums, as well as performing live with the group. On their new album for Six Degrees Records, Tony Levin of King Crimson plays bass along with other Indian and Armenian musical guests.
Niyaz is a mixture of old and new music styles. Their lyrics are drawn from Sufi mystics, such as the Persian poet Rumi, and other classic poetry sung in Urdu. Niyaz claims it for our times and gives it a modern expression.