Creator & Director
Ziba Shirazi is an Iranian‐American poet, singer, songwriter and storyteller.
As a poet and music artist, she is best known for her poignant songs and storytelling through poetry. Ziba’s compositions blend together flavors of Persian melodies with world music and jazz.
In 1985, Ziba left Iran for the United States, where despite all difficulties she single‐handedly produced and promoted seven albums. Referred to as the ‘Voice of Women’ in the Iranian community, Ziba’s lyrics are colored by passionate feminist tones, love, compassion and universal human stories.
In 2009, Ziba created Story & Song, a lyrical storytelling performance, set to live music with video projections featuring stories of Iranian immigrants and their struggles since the Islamic Revolution.This project, which is also the subject of Ziba’s Master’s thesis in Performance and Communication at California State University in Los Angeles, has been performed across the US and Canada. Another one of Ziba’s lifetime dreams was achieved in spring of 2014, when she staged her first musical production, Spring Love, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts.
Through her ongoing projects, Story & Song featuring stories of Iranian immigrants, and Spring Love, a musical love story, Ziba continues to touch the hearts of audiences, crossing cultural gaps with her unique talent for storytelling.
Matt Austin Born and raised in California, Matt started acting at a very young age. He has starred on several network television shows and feature films such as Raising Hope, Desperate Housewives, Body of Proof, Cowboy Junction and Crush on You.
Ali Farahani is an Iranian-Italian music producer and Afro-Cuban percussionist. His records have been featured in numerous sets and radios worldwide. His most famous track, Persian Dream, featuring Sima Bina, was in the top ten dance chart for many months. Ali is currently living in Los Angeles and has made multiple appearances in Ziba Shirazi’s productions.
Melody Mofidi was born and raised in Iran where she studied interior design in Tehran. She immigrated to the United States in 2012 and followed her passion in entertainment. She has worked with the Iranian-American comedian, Max Amini, as a writer, coordinator, and actress in the comedy show, Minutes with Max Amini. She appeared in Spring Love in 2014 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Melody is currently continuing her education at Santa Monica College.
Shahaub Roudbari Born in California and raised in Iran, Shahaub was exposed to rich and diverse cultures and experiences, which in turn shaped his passion for performance and storytelling. Receiving his BA from UC Berkeley and MFA from the Academy of Art University, as well as years of training at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, Shahaub strives to continually improve upon his skills and knowledge as a performer and Director. His passions also led him to train Martial Arts in China and compete on the US and Iranian National teams to become an international Gold medalist. Shahaub hopes to utilize his passions to inspire and entertain people from every background.
Tanya Mekhtikhanyan is a 19 year-old dancer who has studied ballet, contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, jazz, and Armenian cultural dance since 2000 at Helen’s Dance Studio. Her aspirations include graduating university and opening up her own dance studio to continue her love and passion for dance.
Shayan Safar Born in Los Angeles and raised by two-loving Iranian parents, Shayan has always dreamt of being a superhero since he was a little boy. Flash forward to today, where he is now a college graduate from the University of California Los Angeles and a breakdancing and tricking instructor. Having met some of the most talented artists and danced on TV shows such as 90210, Shayan practices breakdancing and martial art acrobats, also known as tricking, every day in his continued dream of becoming a superhero. Inspired by the writings of the Baha’i Faith, he hopes to use his movement arts to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually so that one day he can pursue a career in film and he can use his passions to inspire others and give back to the community.
Arezoo Koochakan was born in Tehran, Iran in 1977. She is a trained percussionist and an expert in playing multiple traditional Persian instruments including Daf, Dohol, Dammam, and Dayereh. Arezoo has performed at numerous venues in Iran and other countries and has been a music instructor in Iran over the past ten years.
Robert Kyle Saxophonist/Flutist/Composer/Arranger Robert Kyle has become known for his unique warm sound, melodic style, and his ability to harmoniously cross musical borders. His lyricism and passion are evident in whatever situation he finds himself. His performance & recording credits include work with Cee Lo Green, Natalie Cole, Michael McDonald, Chaka Khan, Michael Bolton, Kenny Loggins, Googoosh, Babyface and many more. Robert has nine CD’s out under his own name and has a long list of arranging & production credits. Visit www.robertkyle.com for more info.
Sheyda Mina started her artistic carrier at age 8 at the Madam Yellena Ballet school in Tehran, Iran. Later, she joined the Tehran Conservatory playing viola. However, her fascination with classical Persian music propelled her to take Setar lessons with Master Jangook, and later, in 1994, she studied Daf with Master Kamkar and Mr. Sadegh Tareef. Sheyda immigrated to Germany in 1998 and appeared in many concerts with Master Derkhshani (Khorshid ensemble); and taught Daf at the University of Cologne.
Arash Rad was born in Tehran, Iran in 1979 where he worked as a cinematographer and photographer in more than fifty award-winning feature films. He immigrated to Los Angles with his family in 2006 and continued his education, earning a degree in photojournalism in 2012. In Los Angeles, he worked as a correspondent and reporter for Voice of American Television for eight years where he produced and created programs and advertisements for various television stations. His work has been exhibited and published in group exhibitions, books, and magazines.
Darya Rod is 10 years old and in 5th grade. She loves to act, draw, play sports, and cook. She wants to be a vet, artist, actor, and chef when she grows up. She is currently in the Jaxx theatrical production of Aladdin, The Musical.
Baran Rod is seven years old and currently in the second grade. She loves to create art, play jump rope, make rainbow looms, and talk to her friends. This is her second appearance in Spring Love.
Darya Razaviani was born in Tehran, Iran in 1992 and lived there until the age of 6. While in Iran, she made appearances in film and television from 1997 to 1998. In 1998, Darya and her mother immigrated to Germany. Since 1999, she devoted herself to her passion for dancing and has performed at different Iranian cultural events. Currently, she is actively pursuing her passion for performance through dance as well as theatre.
Vandad Massahzadeh is an Iranian musician, composer, and conductor. He plays numerous instruments and has composed more than twenty original scores for theatrical plays and various TV series. In 2005, he was presented with the Best Music Composer of the Year Award in Iran. He created the Kooban Band and has performed widely in Iran and abroad. After publishing two major textbooks on accordion and Daf, Vandad became involved with academic centers in Iran including the Music Academy in Iran and the Universities of Honar, Azad and Sooreh. He immigrated to the United States in December 2012 and produced his first instrumental album, Melody of Love, in August 2013.
Danny Akhavan was born in Tehran, Iran and started playing guitar at the age of 16 in Israel. After his immigration to the United States, he played with the American rock band, Dominoteri. In 1988, Danny gravitated toward classical and flamenco guitar and was inspired by his musician friend, Homayoun Shapoori. He then took lessons from several guitar masters including Maestro Vicente Gomez and Bonito Palacios. Also in 1988, he started playing tar and learning Persian traditional music under the tutelage of Pirayeh Poorafar and Ahmad Rahmanipoor.
Farid Vaghefi started playing keyboard at the age of eight. He began playing guitar at the age of twelve with Garnik Ohanian. He began to compose his own music that was influenced by classical, flamenco and Mediterranean styles. When Farid met Danny Akhavan in Los Angeles, the two music scavengers decided to create music that was a fusion of flamenco, rock, blues, and Mediterranean styles. This combination of genres led to their album, Dancing Flames.