“We left the country in 1979, when I was four years old,” says Iranian-born violinist Bahman Sarram. “My family became exiles overnight, due to the political and social climate at the time, as revolutionaries enslaved a once-free country.” Shortly after arriving in the U.S., Sarram began taking violin lessons at a private conservatory and played with various school orchestras.
“I moved to San Diego in the summer of 2000 after living in Philadelphia most of my life,” says Sarram, who records and performs under the name Bviolin. “I was a full-time computer consultant and programmer, and the job market was good, so I decided to move to someplace completely different [from Philadelphia] in my eyes. I knew of San Diego because we’d come for family vacations to visit my cousins and uncle when I was little.… I loved this place as a kid.”
Sarram fronts Bviolin and the January Avalanche Project, though his next album (set for May release) will be a solo Bviolin project. “It’s mainly an instrumental journey of compositions I’ve written, rather than singer-songwriter-type songs.”
“The Persian violin influence...or, rather, a Middle Eastern violin influence, is always there in my music, especially in my originals, which I describe as Persian jazz fusion and folk. Whenever there are any Iranians in the crowd, they seem attracted right away to my style of violin.… I get a lot of compliments about how great it is to hear the Persian influence in a broad range of styles of my music.”
Are gigs ever affected by U.S. tension over Middle East relations? “Over the long haul of my career, I’m sure I have had some negative run-ins,” says Sarram, “but those things tend not to bother me.”