Best World Music Band - 2005
The definition of "world music" may vary greatly depending on whom you ask, but by bringing together influences from four different continents, Farshid Etniko surely qualifies. Guitarist Farshid Soltanshahi and percussionist Ali Soltanshahi were born in Iran and educated in Paris before coming to St. Louis, and that worldly background has provided a variety of experiences and influences to inspire the band's music. Although Ali's no longer in the group, Farshid's acoustic guitar and the superb Sandy Weltman on mandolin and harmonica lead the way, backed by jazz-influenced electric bass from Erin Wolf and drumming from John Hale. Call it Latin jazz with a Persian touch -- or call it original, intriguing and entertaining.