Who is Opium Moon:
"Opium Moon’s debut album is a sublime and sensual brew of strings, percussion and bass that transports the listener to a musically soulful Shangri-La.” – Victoria Looseleaf, ArtNowLA
Sensuous and hypnotic, elegant yet deeply emotional, the music of Opium Moon evokes the mysteries of ancient worlds while remaining thoroughly contemporary. The Los Angeles-based ensemble’s cinematic soundscapes draw upon the virtuosic skills and diverse ethnic backgrounds of its members: Iranian santoor master Hamid Saeidi, innovative Israeli bassist Itai Disraeli, sought-after American percussionist M.B. Gordy, and the exceptionally expressive Canadian-American violinist Lili Haydn, whose passion and fluid mastery of her instrument enchants in every song.
In five original, long-form compositions, the four master players craft a striking sonic chiaroscuro; the dramatic counterpoints of viscerally resonant percussion and driving yet subtle fretless bass underpin and carry the music forward with mesmerizing rhythms, while the shimmering delicacy of the santoor – a 100-stringed Persian hammered dulcimer – and the soaring voice of Haydn’s violin (and lilting vocals on two songs) deliver supple melodic contrast.
With compositions that meld sacred/classical traditions of both East and West with trance-inducing, ancient grooves, the result is at times both stately and rapturous, a sultry and passionate instrumental music that seems to emanate from a profound, even carnal wellspring.
Lili Haydn says, “In this era of ‘fake news,’ I began to feel that words no longer seemed to matter. I lost my faith in my protest songs and threw myself into creating an album without words, one which was simply an embodiment of the peace and inclusiveness I wanted to see in the world. In these polarized and frightening times, simply making beauty – and loving across boundaries – is a revolutionary act.”
“The most sacred prayers in Islam and in Judaism -- La ilaha illallah and the Shema – are both affirmations of the oneness of God, that everything is Divine. It is in this spirit of inclusiveness that we dive into the unknown together, making peace through harmony and fluid composition.”
The band based their name Opium Moon – as well as their ethos as a group with members from Iran, Israel, the U.S., and Canada – on a poem by the great Sufi poet Hafiz:
“The bird’s favorite songs
You do not hear
For their most flamboyant music takes place
When their wings are stretched/Above the trees
And they are smoking the opium of pure freedom…
I once asked a bird
”How is it that you fly in this gravity
”Love lifts Me.”
Bassist Itai Disraeli, however, comments that the band’s music “is not about opium! It’s about mindfulness, clarity of vision, and heart. This world is so filled with hate and division; this is peace music, about connection and deep humanity. For each of us, there is some of our best work on this record – because it was born of love, humility, and respect for each other’s rich cultural legacies.”