Over the last seven years, the band has spent a lot of time touring the world, playing numerous shows across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. A major source of inspiration has always been Afghanistan, and the folkloric ‘Mazaar,’ an ode to the holy city of Mazar-e-Sharif, captures the beauty and depth of this trio splendidly. Fans of Indian music may be surprised to find the extraordinary Oscar-winning Indian composer, musician and singer AR Rahman singing exquisitely alongside Ali on this stunning homage to a war-torn region.
‘I’m a long-time AR Rahman fan,’ Ali says. ‘I grew up in India, so I have a great passion for Bollywood music, which has influenced the way I compose. The theme that AR wrote for the 1995 film Bombay has to be one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard, so I was honored to have him on this album.’
‘Mazaar’ was, as Rizzo says, an ‘11th hour’ occurrence. After performing a number of shows together, Rahman ended up in Rizzo’s Los Angeles studio. He noticed a Niyaz poster and expressed his love for the first album. Rizzo later mentioned that the band should invite a guest of some stature to perform. After Ali suggested Rahman, one of the most renowned producers and composers in the world today, Rizzo put in the call, and the response was positive.