Niayesh Shababi Takes a New Approach to Iranian Music

Niayesh Shababi is a guitarist and composer. A current music education major, Shababi aspires to be a performer and continue composing music. He has been playing and studying classical music for 10 years. However, his freelance work fuses styles like contemporary music, jazz, electronic dance music (EDM), and Persian music, putting a modern spin on cultural music. His music includes “an accent of Persian music,” as Shababi explains.

Shababi started exploring composition with a piano teacher who gave him the opportunity to practice composing and learn more about it. Shababi composed his first piece six years ago and now prefers playing his own composition, though he still plays classical music and other styles as well.

Having lived in Iran until he moved to the U.S. five years ago, Persian music has always been a part of Shababi’s life. He shares that though he plays Western instruments, the music and composition is influenced by Persian music and styles. For instance, he incorporates elements and techniques of playing Persian music into playing guitar. His music is also often inspired by the style and melodies of Persian lullabies, which are sung to children in small Iranian villages and have strong cultural value.

He hopes his music will help uplift Iranian culture, which he says needs more people sharing it with the wider community in the Twin Cities. “Because of all the things that happened in history in Iran, this culture has been [limited]. It needs a lot of promoting and this will [happen] through Iranian artists.”

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