Sussan Deyhim

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Sussan Deyhim
Birth nameSussan Deyhim
Born (1958-12-14) December 14, 1958 (age 63)
Tehran, Iran
GenresFolk, Electro-pop, New-age, World music
Occupation(s)singer, composer, dancer, activist, performance artist
Years active1986–present
LabelsCrammed Discs
Venus Rising Records

Sussan Deyhim (born December 14, 1958) is an Iranian American composer, vocalist, performance artist and activist. She is internationally known for her invention of a unique sonic/vocal language.[1] LA Times quotes her as "One of Iran's most potent voices in exile".[2]

Early life[edit]

Sussan Deyhim was born into a liberal Iranian[3] family on December 14, 1958, in Tehran, Iran. She was the youngest of eleven children and her house was filled with every conceivable style of music, old and new. Growing up, Deyhim spent her summers at a special dance and arts camp at the Caspian Sea and at the Shirazz Festival. At the age of 13, she joined the Iranian National Ballet Company and was offered a scholarship to attend School of Performing Arts in Brussels. Deyhim won coveted admission into the Bejart Ballet in 1976 and moved to New York (1980) to pursue music.[4][5] Her music remains true to the spirit of her ancient heritage while pointing to the future with a very personal and poetic dramatic sensibility.[4] In her own words, Deyhim said "I had been trained to do unusual vocals and I started doing choreography and composing music myself, using my voice as my instrument. Gradually I started getting very excited about music. My apartment was in the Village and I got into the downtown music and arts scene. I wanted to do something cool and an interesting hybrid relevant to our times."[6]

Career and Musical style[edit]

Deyhim's music combines extended vocal techniques, digital processing, and the ancient mysticism of Middle Eastern music to create a deeply moving fusion of East and West.

Her artistic career began in 1971, at age thirteen dancing with Iran's Pars National Ballet company (performing weekly on Iranian national television). During that time Deyhim traveled all across Iran to study with master folk musicians and dancers; in 1976, she joined Maurice Béjart's prestigious Béjart Ballet in Europe, after receiving a scholarship to attend the famed choreographer's performance-art school, Mudra.[5] There she was trained in many of the great world, dance, music, theater traditions as well as in classical ballet.

Leaving Tehran in 1980, Deyhim moved to New York embarking on a multifaceted  career encompassing music, theatre, dance, media and wide-ranging collaborations with leading artists from across the spectrum of contemporary art like, Ornette Coleman, Bobby McFerrin, Peter Gabriel, and Rufus Wainwright, Richard Horowitz and with prominent female visual artists Shirin Neshat, Sophie Calle and Lita Albuquerque.[5]

Moving to Los Angeles in 2006, Deyhim, has, over the course of her career, been signed to Sony Classical and continues to record for her own label, Venus Rising, where she has released five new albums of her works on film, multi media and recent collaborations.[5]

Often singing in Farsi, the musician's unique sounds can be heard on the Oscar-winning film, Argo, while U2 made use of her composition, "Windfall/Beshno Az Ney," as part of its 360 tour. She has also performed with international orchestras such as the Polish Radio Orchestra and the Krakow Philharmonic and has received commissions as a composer from international ensembles such as Bang On A Can. She has performed her music at Lincoln Center Summer Festival, Carnegie Recital Hall, Albert Hall, The Old Vic, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royce Hall and many other major labels.[7]


Deyhim has been a frequent participant at humanitarian events and benefits, including a performance at the gathering of the spiritual leaders of the world at the United Nations General Assembly in 2001; the first Gathering of Female Spiritual Leaders in Geneva at the United Nations and the Royal Hope Gala in the Royal Albert Hall, London, England with Plácido Domingo, The Royal Ballet and many others, for medical aid to Iraqi children. In 2009, she performed in a sold-out concert at the UN General Assembly organized by Pakistan's biggest rock musician and activist, Salman Ahmad to raise funds for misplaced children in Pakistan with other participants such as Jeffrey Skoll, Bobby Sager and Gavin Rossdale.

In her work such as Deyhim's mixed media performative installation project "Dawn of the Cold Season". She was inspired by poet Forough Farrokhzad. The project presents an uncensored poetic feminist dialogue. By introducing the Iranian female icon to the international world. Deyhim inspired many. Deyhim's outspoken feminist voice has had her exiled from Iran for 30 years now.[8]


Deyhim's solo recordings include:

Her recordings with Richard Horowitz include:

With composer and director Heiner Goebbels, Deyhim recorded


  • Sotto In Su Feat. Sussan Deyhim, Frank Schulte - Vanitas (1997) (Poise)
  • Susan Deyhim, Shirin Neshat - Turbulent (2000) (Eyestorm)
  • Madam Of God (Divine Love Songs Of The Persian Sufi Masters) (2000) CramWorld, (Crammed Discs)
  • Sussan Deyhim, Reconstruction And Mix Translation Of "Madam Of God" By Bill Laswell - Shy Angels (2002) (Crammed Discs)
  • Out Of Faze (2008) (Venus Rising Records)
  • Sussan Deyhim And Shirin Neshat - Possessed (2008) (Venus Rising Records)
  • Sussan Deyhim And Shirin Neshat - Soliloquy (2008) (Venus Rising Records)
  • City Of Leaves (2011) (Venus Rising Records)


  • Sussan Deyhim/Shirin Neshat - Soliloquy (2001) (Venus Rising Records)
  • Trouble Man (2008) (Venus Rising Records)
  • Marabeboos (2014) (Venus Rising Records)

Film and television[edit]


Sussan Deyhim was the recipient of the Czech Lion Award for Best Music for Nejlepsí hudba from the movie Tobruk (2008).[12]


  1. ^ "Sussan Deyhim - official site". Sussan Deyhim. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  2. ^ "Music review: Iranian avant-garde singer Sussan Deyhim smooths feathers on 9/11". LA Times Blogs - Culture Monster. September 12, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  3. ^ Welt, Haus der Kulturen der (December 10, 2013). "bio deyhim". HKW. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Sussan Deyhim: Performance and Practice". Iran Heritage Foundation UK registered charity with the mission to promote and preserve the history, languages and cultures of Iran and the Persianate world. Iran Heritage Farsi Persian Norouz Nowruz Cultural Charity Yalda Farhang. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d "Sussan Deyhim Embraces the World". Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  6. ^ "Iran Chamber Society: Iranian Music: Sussan Deyhim". Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  7. ^ "SUSSAN DEYHIM BIO". Sussan Deyhim. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  9. ^ "Sussan Deyhim and the Conundrum of Connection". Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  10. ^ "Sussan Deyhim and the Conundrum of Connection". Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  11. ^ Video at Film review by Anne Midgette, The New York Times, July 15, 2002, Background piece by Amei Wallach, NY Times, September 30, 2001,
  12. ^ "Sussan Deyhim". IMDb. Retrieved May 3, 2022.

External links[edit]