Where are you from? What’s your background?
I was born in Montreal, lived most of my childhood in London, Ontario. Then my adolescence in … Toronto. I went back to Montreal right after highschool.
My background, I am Persian. My mother is from Shahrekord, and the father is from Abadan.
Weirrrd! How does a Persian girl end up playing Celtic & Bluegrass music?
Honestly, I don’t know. A lot of people get weirded out when I appear to these jams as the only non-caucasian person there. They don’t ask (well actually I was asked a few times), but they definitely think it, so its best that I address it once and for all here.
I could examine every experience in my life and pinpoint the answer but I think a person’s taste is based on a combination of factors. It could have been the festivities for St. Patrick’s day. It could be the Loreena Mckennitt tape my Mom borrowed from the library. It could have been this jam I went to at Hurley’s while I was at Concordia. It could have been the dance-y Persian folk music my Dad played in the car. It could have been a commercial about going to New Brunswick on TV. It could have been just getting fed up with not finding good music in the mainstream. It could have been getting overwhelmed with experimental sound projects in university.
I listen to other genres like rock & industrial, but I haven’t been active in these scenes because the music is too loud and I don’t want permanent ear damage. So I enjoy distortion where its heard best… on a CD!
Folk music is organic music, something easy on the ears and authentic. You don’t need to plug into machines, you just play. So you aren’t confined to places with outlets. You can play in the park, by the beach, even at a farm!
Also, I feel like I shouldn’t limit myself with what genre of music I listen to based on my ethnicity, upbringing, income class, education level, or anything else. I keep an open mind and let the music speak for itself.
Why did you get into mandolin?
All practicality and cool, and no gimmick! The mandolin is perfect for bringing the best of the guitar and violin worlds together.
The violin has the exact same tuning as a mandolin. I have been playing violin for years so it was much easier to read music and find my way around notes when I tried out the mandolin. Unlike violin, I could strum and sing at the same time!
I could have strum and sung with guitar, (and still do at times) but found it way too big and heavy to carry around.
The mandolin is smaller, lighter and has a sound that is not commonly used in music, so I was sold right away and got to work since!
What other instruments do you play?
Keyboard. Violin. Mandolin. Guitar.
What is your favourite colour?
No one actually asked this question, but this tends to be asked when people have nothing else to talk about. So I’ll answer it anyway! The answer is: Blue and Red
Where do you live?
A humble dwelling in an artsy community known as the Plateau in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Is Shirin Delsooz your real name?
In Iran it is, but here in Canada I go by Vanessa “Shirin” Delsooz, and its variations… But the Islamic Republic of Iran officially recognizes me as Shirin Delsooz. When my Dad submitted paperwork to Iran, he was told they would only accept Persian names for citizens, so he registered me with the name he always wanted, Shirin. While others change their names to sound more western, I decided to go by the name Shirin Delsooz so people know my Persian background off the bat. And, in my opinion, it has a better ring. I am not having an identity crisis.