Sistanagila feat. Liraz

Connecting Israel & Iran

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Duration: approx. 80 min., no intermission


The Israeli actress, singer and dancer Liraz Charhi is not only a superstar in Israel, but also has many fans in Iran: The prominent artist is Jewish with Iranian roots, has secretly collaborated with musicians from Iran for her new electro-pop album ‘Zan’ and sings in Farsi. “You could call it subversive diplomacy,” was Deutsche Welle’s verdict on the risky project – because Iranians are forbidden by law to be in contact with Israelis. This cultural collaboration is ‘underground music’ in the actual sense of the word, because everything had to be recorded in secret. Liraz mixes contemporary electropop with pulsating Middle Eastern rhythms and Persian retro sounds – and was named ‘Artist of the Year’ by the influential British ‘Songlines Magazine’ in 2021.

At asphalt Festival there will be a world premiere: Liraz will perform together with Sistanagila for the first time. Iranian and Israeli musicians founded the band in Berlin because their two countries are enemies. Beyond the political tensions, Sistanagila seek dialogue – by means of the universal language of music. The band’s name is an Iranian-Israeli neologism: ‘Sistan’ is the name of an Iranian province and Nagila is borrowed from the immensely popular Hebrew folk song ‘Hava Nagila’, whose title means something like “Come together”. Sistanagila make use of folkloric and religious melodies from Klezmer, Sephardic and traditional Persian as well as classical and contemporary music. The different melodies and motifs, rearranged with influences ranging from flamenco and jazz to progressive metal, merge into a music that expresses both religious and modern elements of cultural identity, building a bridge between two worlds and creating something entirely new. According to the belief: Differences need not divide, but can enrich us.

Liraz and Sistanagila will play pieces from their own repertoire, some of which will be rearranged especially for this asphalt concert, and will also present some new songs.


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Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia as part of the project #Resolution

Liraz Charhi: Vocals

Yuval Halpern: Vocals, Composition
Jawad Salkhordeh: Percussion
Hemad Darabi: Guitar
Avi Albers Ben Chamo: Double Bass
Omri Abramov: Saxophone

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