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Formed in 1999 in Tehran, O-HUM is one of the alternative rock bands in Iran. The name of the band comes from an Arabic word meaning 'illusions'. O-HUM mainly uses poems of Hafez, a traditional Iranian poet who lived in 8th century A.H., and also adds elements of Iranian (Persian) music into its rock sound. For this, O-HUM has worked with bunch of guest Iranian traditional music instrument players thus far.
O-HUM was started as Shahram Sharbaf (vocals, guitar), Shahrokh Izadkhah (guitar) and Babak Riahipour (Bass) in 1999. At the beginning they was just planning to record some demo songs in Shahram Sharbaf's home studio but after the leakage of the first single called "Darvish", the band started to get offers by record companies. Band's first album Nahal-e Heyrat (The Sapling of Wonder) by its initial lineup was recorded in summer of 1999. O-HUM launched its own website and started to make the songs of Nahal-e Heyrat available for download for free in 2001 after they could not succeed in obtaining a publishing license from Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. "The rejection was nothing to do with the lyrics since they were from Hafez who has always had great respect among all Iranians including the Ministry—the problem was about the style", Sharbaf said. However, people started to download the songs and the website let O-HUM find a big fan base on the internet. First live performance of the band was in Russian Orthodox Church in Tehran in 2001. Sharbaf and Riahipour also collaborated with Farman Fahtalian in his very first open-air live performance in Niavaran Palace in Tehran. Next effort of the band was in February 2002 called Hafez in Love which consisted of two singles. The singles were recorded in Tehran at Bam studios. Afterwards in 2003, Babak Riahipour and Shahrokh Izadkhah decided to leave the band. In 2003 and 2004 Sharbaf assembled a live band and had some performances in House of Culture in Berlin, Fabrik in Hamburg and Rostock as well in Germany. In 2005 Izadkhah got back and the band reached his final lineup: Sharbaf (vocals and guitar), Izadkhah (guitar), Kasra Saboktakin (bass) and Kasra Ebrahimi (drums). With its final lineup, O-HUM along with guest Iranian traditional musicians recorded its third album Aloodeh (Stained) in collaboration with Bamahang Productions—which is a Canada-based company. Aloodeh is available in on-line music stores.
O-HUM mixes elements of Iranian (Persian) traditional literature as well as folklore music with rock sound leading to some sort of assimilative music. This mixed music along with the accent Sharbaf uses for vocals, makes music the band plays specific to O-HUM—a sounding some critics refer to as Persian rock.