Mitra Sumara Biography
Mitra Sumara is New York City’s only Farsi Funk group. This international party band revives the vibrant Persian pop and funk music silenced by the Iranian Revolution. The popular music of Iran in the 60s and 70s combined disco, funk, and Latin beats, with Middle Eastern melodies and poetic lyrics.
Mitra Sumara interprets hits by Iran’s beloved singers such as Googoosh, Soli, Leila Forouhar, and remakes intoxicating Southern Iranian Bandari beat tunes. The band is comprised of musicians drawn from New York’s indie-rock, jazz, and avant-garde communities.
The band is the creation of NYC singer Yvette Saatchi Perez, who was adopted and raised by American parents in Los Angeles. After twenty years of writing and recording her own music (avant-pop group Birdbrain, I Fly; and H*E*R, Songs About the Mysteries of Housework and Nature) and performing in numerous rock bands and new music ensembles, Yvette discovered the popular music of pre-Revolutionary Iran. She founded Mitra Sumara after studying Farsi and uniting with her birth father. This project is an outgrowth of Yvette’s journey to reclaim her personal identity, and a love letter to the beauty of Iranian culture and music.
Yvette enlisted players she has worked with for many years to join her in Mitra Sumara. Peter Zummo (trombone) is a composer and a former member of the Lounge Lizards, the Necessaries, and Gamelon Son of Lion. He has also won a Bessie Award and a Worldwide Award (UK). Peter and Bill Ruyle (hammer dulcimer) are original members of Arthur Russell’s band. Julian Maile (guitar) has performed with Milk & Cookies, Moby, Stevie Wonder, and is a mainstay of the Loser’s Lounge band. Jim Duffy (keyboard), formerly of Boston’s Rods and Cones, has played with Wanda Jackson and the Fleshtones. Powerhouse Nikhil Yerawadekar (bass) plays with Antibalas and Low Mentality. The brilliantly versatile Michael Evans (percussion) has a resume that includes Aimee Mann, Michael Gira, Karen Mantler, and David Grubbs. Kaveh Haghtalab (drums) is from Iran and a First Prize winner in the Fajr International Music Festival.
Yvette teamed up with New York producer Salmak Khaledi to record Mitra Sumara’s debut record, Tahdig. Salmak (studio producer, sound engineer, multi instrumentalist) is a member of Iran’s most respected underground rock group, 127.
“Mitra Sumara” is a combination of Farsi words to mean “The light of our friendship.” It is a bridge across worlds, cultures, and families.
Mitra Sumara has performed at the Smithsonian Freer Sackler Asian Art Gallery and the John F. Kennedy Center Millenium Stage and Tropicalia Club in DC as well as New York City venues including National Sawdust, Le Poisson Rouge, Barbés, Alwan for the Arts, Brooklyn Bowl, Barbes, Nublu, DROM, WestBeth, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, Bar Chord, and Café Nadery.