Golnar Shahyar is a European based Iranian/Canadian vocalist, composer, lyricist and music educator who specializes in combining her musical roots with jazz and improvised music.
After getting her bachelor’s degree in Biology in Toronto, Canada, she moved to Vienna in 2008 to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. In a short space of time, she entered the international stages and festivals while finishing her studies in voice and music education, minoring guitar performance, at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Her dedication to constantly create new cultural and musical dialogs in her work brought her many collaborations with various internationally renowned musicians such as Erkan Our and Alain Perez, both on stage as well as in music production. As the lead singer of her bands, Sormeh, Choub, Gabbeh, Sehrang, Golnar & Mahan and her solo act GolNar, she has co-produced and published four CDs, has won many nominations and been selected by NASOM program 6 years in the row to represent Austrian music scene worldwide.
Shahyar has also performed as a soloist with ORF Radio Symphonie Orchestra in Hollywood in Vienna as well as Trickster Orchestra. As performer and composer, she collaborated in various dance and theatre productions with Volkstheater Wien, Wiener Konzerthaus (Jeunesse), Vienna Art History Museum (Wenn Es Soweit Ist Productions) and Tanzlabor Labyrinth Productions and was invited as coach and music/workshop director in festivals such as “Common Sound Festival” (Deutsche Oper Berlin) and “Female Voice of Iran Festival” (Zeitgenößische Oper Berlin). As a transcultural artist, Shahyar has also been invited as one of the speakers in the “Human Rights Day” at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna to discuss human rights in the context of music and culture.
Being for almost 10 years in the field of music, performance, and education, Golnar Shahyar is considered to be a multifaceted musician who has put dialog, personal expression and storytelling at the core of her artistic work.
“Golnar is a millennium voice. The only voice that ever moved me to tears when I saw her live. Every single note she sings contains incredible magic.”
– Mira Lu Kovacs (Singer, Popfest Curator)
“If you have read Carson Makers, Alice Manro, Flannery O Connor and – why not! – Virginia Wulf, then the Iranian diva Golnar Shahyar maybe your favorite new heroine.”
“With a voice full of nuances and her hypnotic presence on stage, Golnar Shahyar has everything necessary for a great singer.”
– Ernst Perbin-Vogl (Music Curator)
“When Golnar Shahyar sings, you can easily forget everything else around…”
– Helmut Jasper (Radio Ö1)
“The hypnotic polyphonic weave of voice Golnar Shahyar, her guitar or piano, takes place so naturally as a floating story about the diversity of life, crossing her fondling fingers over your mind and heart.”
– Danas Newspaper
I sing for you to see the unlimited different ways to be!
I sing for the promise of new fertile territory,
for a click or a quick moment of pure fantasy.
My tone might shack your golden walls of certainty!
Walls so high!
as if they go till eternity.
Embrace the difference in me and accept the possibility to take risks.
For there is life in losing that blooms into a new reality.
Smell the flowers of belief in me!
Give me your energy!
I will transform it with all my desires, frustrations, anger and compassion and will give it bake to you.
Look at me!
My heart is like an open vast see.
If you can feel it if you can hear it, if you can connect
then let us celebrate life together.
If your heart fears and doubts
then take your time but please come back again.
I will embrace you with music, with my voice, again and again, and again.
That is my mission!
(Golnar Shahyar, November 2017)
My boss, my owner, my suppressor,
Take my land,
take my house,
take my place,
take my chance,
take my words,
take my body,
take my voice,
But you can never take my choice,
To choose life, to choose growth.
(Golnar Shahyar, July 2019)
Cover Photo by Ina Aydogan