With a name that means "The light of our friendship," it is no wonder that farsi funk group Mitra Sumara is breaking down cultural barriers.
The New York City band is lead by veteran singer Yvette Saatchi Perez, who was adopted and raised by American parents in Los Angeles. After discovering the popular music of pre-Revolutionary Iran, uniting with her birth father, and studying farsi, she was inspired to create Mitra Sumara in 2011 with the help of musicians from the City's indie rock, jazz, and avant-garde communities.
"As an adopted person, it is tremendous to find and make a connection with birth parents or any other blood relatives," Perez says. "My Iranian side is via my father which, for me, was the most compelling as I had always felt it was the key to my personal identity. I discovered this music while searching for my father. After I found him in 2009, I met other half-siblings, cousins, and an aunt. Then I began to study Farsi more seriously. A couple of years later, I created a band to play this awesome music. This music should be as popular among Americans as 70s Brazilian music, in my view. Mitra Sumara is an unexpected party band of American musicians putting a spin on Iranian tunes to bridge cultures. For years I sought a way to participate in the Iranian diaspora and this is my contribution. It's a celebration of family and connection. It's also the chance to present positive aspects of Iranian culture to the West."
Together, Mitra Sumara celebrates Iranian culture and music, bringing the country's pop fusion of the '60s and '70s back to life for the entire world to hear, and now seven years after its creation, the band is preparing to release their debut album Tahdig. Featuring the participation of producer Salmak Khaledi, who is a member of Iran's most famous underground rock group, 127, the 10-track album, which drops on June 8, brings listeners an updated take on '70s Iranian pop and funk. "This music bonds generations," Perez says. "I feel super privileged to be able to play this music and have Iranians and Americans come to our shows and have a good time."
Mitra Sumara will celebrate their debut album with a record release party on June 7 at Nublu in New York City. Attendees must be 21+. Get tickets here.