Music, our tastes in it, the way we participate in it, is always an expression of our identity. We create our own sonic fingerprints related to the ideologies we agree with, the clothes we wear, our economic situation, how we like to dance. Although the days of burning mix tapes for our friends are long gone, our “Here’s a song for you…” WhatsApp messages secretly say “Here’s a bit of me, what do you think of it?” In a world of binaries, boxes and checklists, art (perhaps music especially) can offer up a hazy realm of subjectivity, malleability and blurred edges — a perfect place for exploration of those things about us with no clear classification in other spheres. The music of an artist like Liraz is a fine example of how music can not only help far-off listeners process and reaffirm aspects of identity, but also the artist and their most immediate community.
Liraz’s musical expression of identity is a valuable one, as due to heritage being half-Israeli and half-Iranian, she grapples with the concept more often than most. She says: “I often felt that I was living a double culture, living in an Israeli home with Iranian parents who left Iran before the revolution. They struggled to build a life here in Israel, back when it was a very young country. I felt that when I was home, I was very Iranian. And when I was outside, I was very Israeli. And it felt like switching identities, I built double characters.” This questioning of identity is at the crux of Liraz’s music. Her two albums, Naz (2017) and Zan (2020) are deeply connected to both Israeli and Iranian styles. Zan was recently Morning Mari*’s album of the week! You can read an analysis of the album here.