O-Hum in Iranian Intergalactic Music Festival, 22nd October 2006, Zaandam, the Netherlands
Background information Origin Tehran, Iran Genres Alternative rock
Years active 1999–present Labels Bamahang Productions Website www.o-hum.com Members Shahram Sharbaf
Past members Babak Riahipour
O-Hum is an Iranian underground rock band fronted by singer/songwriter Shahram Sharbaf. Their style is what they call "Persian Rock", combining rock with Persian instruments and modes, together with lyrics drawn from the works of Hafez, the esteemed fourteenth century Persian poet.
The band was formed in 1999 in Tehran with Shahrokh Izadkhah on guitar and Babak Riahipour on bass guitar. Their initial plan was to simply record some demos at Shahram's home studio to document what they were playing at the time. Everything started with the first song Shahram and Shahrokh wrote on acoustic guitar and sehtar, Darvish. Demo tracks soon leaked around via friends and a record company in Tehran asked the band to sign a deal to record a full album. Shahram, Shahrokh and Babak recorded the first album Nahal-e Heyrat in the summer of 1999. The album originally had twelve songs, but one of them, Pire May-foroosh, was later removed.
The record company took the album to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to obtain permission to release it, since all artistic activities require such permission in Iran. The ministry rejected the album a couple of times, describing O-Hum's music as "Western", "cheap" and contrary to Islamic moral standards. Because of this, the record company broke off its deal with the band and canceled everything.[verification needed]
At this point O-Hum decided to launch its own website and make all the album tracks available to download for free. O-Hum.com was launched in March 2001, and in only a few months thousands of MP3s were downloaded, making O-Hum well-known on the Iranian underground music scene. O-Hum played its first concert in March 2001 at the Russian Orthodox church in Tehran to an audience of nearly three hundred excited people. The show was planned to be held for private and foreign audiences but ended up with young boys and girls screaming and stage-diving all around the hall.
As the band kept trying to release its music and play official gigs, it was becoming obvious that the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance would not let O-Hum perform in Iran. O-Hum.com was another reason why the ministry was so angry with O-Hum, because it had enabled the band to promote and release their work through a channel outside the government's control.
The website also let O-Hum find a large fan base on the Internet, both Iranian and foreign.[verification needed] In February 2002 Shahram, Shahrokh and Babak went to the BAM studio in Tehran to record two singles, which later became known as Hafez in Love. The band recorded songs in two weeks and put the full songs online for Norouz, the Iranian New Year. The singles were downloaded more than 15,000 times in the first week.[verification needed]
In early 2003 Babak Riahipour decided to leave O-Hum and continue his personal career. Later in summer 2003 Shahrokh also quit O-Hum and moved to Vancouver in Canada. Shahram decided to continue O-Hum as a solo project. He moved to Canada for a couple of months but then returned to Tehran, where he preferred to live and work. After a couple of months Shahram assembled a live band and travelled to Germany for a couple of gigs in Berlin, Hamburg and Rostock. O-Hum were well-received in Germany and played some memorable performances in the House of Culture in Berlin and Fabrik in Hamburg. These concerts established O-Hum as the pioneers of the Iranian underground scene, and the first Iranian rock band to perform abroad since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Shahram began the recording sessions for O-Hum's new album in early 2004 and soon penned fourteen tracks for the album which later become Aloodeh. Kasra Saboktakin (bass) joined the band during the recording sessions of Aloodeh. Kasra Ebrahimi (drums) and Shahrokh Izadkhah (guitar) performed with the band, along with guest appearances by traditional musicians. Bamahang Productions, a USA indie record company, released Aloodeh worldwide on 20 December 2005. Furthermore O-Hum gained wider fame through its appearance in Amir Hamz' and Mark Lazarz' music documentary "Sounds of Silence" that portrayed the ongoing struggle of underground musicians in Tehran.
In early 2007 Shahram reported that he is working on a remix collection of O-Hum's popular songs, mostly in dance, electronic and hip-hop styles. Though the collection was supposed to be released in early 2008, it was delayed because of both technical and personal matters. in June 2008 Shahram moved to Berlin to play a couple of acoustic gigs and collaborate with some musical projects. Babak Akhoondi (guitar) and Heydar Sajedi (Kamoonche) joined him for a couple of shows the band played. Shahram also produced and engineered an album for Berlin-based band Debie Parker while he was in Berlin.[verification needed]
In 2008 Shahram finished the remix album in Tehran and released it worldwide. Shahram has also begun to write a new O-Hum album with his own lyrics, something the fans have been waiting for a long time.
On October 31, 2010 Shahrokh Izadkhah has announced his departure from the band via an statement written in the band's official Facebook fanpage:
"Dear o-humi friends, unfortunately and despite my true desire i have to quit the band because i don’t reside in Iran and other reasons. Shahram, with the help of great musicians inside Iran, will continue with o-hum and his solo work. i need to thank my dear friend and brother Shahram and also other great guitarists who contributed to o-hum like Babak Akhoondi, Babak Riahi, Arash Mitooyee, Ali Shokrani, Mani Safikhani and above all you dear friends and fans who supported us over the years. Please stay tuned for Shahram and o-hum’s future work as well as my own solo work. Love. [Shahrokh]"
- Nahal-e Heyrat (1999)
- Hafez In Love (2002)
- Aloodeh (2005)
- E-Hum: Remixes (2008)
- Shahram Sharbaf (1999-) - Vocals, Acoustic & electric guitar, Synthesizer
- Kasra Saboktakin (2004-) - Bass
- Kasra Ebrahimi (2004-) - Drums
- Shahrokh Izadkhah (1999–2010) - Guitar
- Babak Riahipour (1999–2003) - Bass
- Reza Abaee - Kamanche and Gheychak on 'Aloodeh' and 'Nahal Heyrat'
- Ali Rahimi - Daf on 'Aloodeh', 'Nahal Heyrat' and 'Hafez in Love'
- Pasha Hanjani - Nay on 'Aloodeh' and 'Hame Tazvir Mikonand'
- Moni Safikhani - Backing Vocal on 'Aloodeh'
- Nima Mohandesan - Tar on 'Nahal Heyrat'
- Moni Safikhani - Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocal on 'Nahal Heyrat'
- Aynee Kayvanshokooh - Drums on 'Hafez in Love'
- Pedram Derakhshani - Baghlama on 'Hafez in Love'
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