The Exile Orchestra is an open network of musicians and visual artists around Mr. Shirazy from all over the world. Based in Cologne/Germany we work on a huge range of audio-visual projects. The background of the artists in this orchestra couldn´t be more different:




As a child Armin already gained musical experiences through lessons by his father. 1997 he began his professional career as a bassist. 2004 Armin left the Iran to live in Germany, where he is participating in various projects on stage and in studios, both in Germany and foreign countries. 2006 he won the Creole NRW price with “Tapesh 2012”. He is a member of „The Exile Orchestra“ since the earliest days.


SISKO (dance performance):

SISKO sisters are the latest members of The Exile Orchestra! With a unique mix of contemporary and clubbing, with a shared passion for innovative movement and a changing set of selfmade costumes they are like humanoid aliens on a trip on planet earth.


Geraldine "Gon Jii" Rosteius has been workshing on and off stage with many international companies as contemporary and modern dancers and choreographers.


Simi Crowns

SIMI CROWNS (vocals):

Simi Crowns is a Nigerian born, Dublin-raised rapper/singer-songwriter and producer, currently based in London. With a vivid approach to storytelling which invites his audience to find their individual journey through music, Simi has enjoyed extensive radio coverage (BBC, 2fm, etc.) and has been featured on renowned publications (Pitchfork, Complex, Noisey and more).


He is also acclaimed for his unique and powerful stage presence and in recent years, has been on tour with artists such as Mos Def, Pusha T, Nelly and Young Fathers to mention a few.


Jemma Endersby


Jemma is a renowned singer and songwriter, born in UK and based in Cologne. She is well known, alongside her solo projects for her vocal work for Die Fantastischen Vier, Paul van Dyk, Max Herre and Joy Denalane to name a few.


Her open, creative stage presence, combined with a strong, clear and soulful voice, is always a heart-warming experience for The Exile Orchestra.


Frederik Köster

FREDERIK KÖSTER  (trumpets):

Frederik is jazz! Based in Cologne and touring around the world, the jazz trumpet professor has enjoyed playing with a variety of internationally acclaimed jazz artists like Phil Woods, Albert Mangelsdorff, Ack van Rooyen, Biréli Lagrene, Randy Brecker, Hiram Bullock, Jiggs Whigham, Nils Wogram, Nils Landgren, Trilok Gurtu, Nils Petter Molvaer, Johannes Enders, Michael Wollny and much more!

With his own quartet he was awarded the Neuer Deutscher Jazzpreis 2009, with Frederik additionally claiming first prize for best soloist. In 2010 he was awarded an ECHO JAZZ for “ZEICHEN DER ZEIT” in the category „instrumentalist of the year national – brass instruments“.

He brings always his own colors into the recordings of The Exile Orchestra!


AMIR NASR (guitars):

Amir has always been a musical cosmopolitan. He studies in Iran, Moscow and Arnhem (NL). Always equipped with the love for new music and sounds, he easily moves between every genre you can imagine.

So give him some funky beats and he delivers as well as some indian tunings on the next track or a pink floydish solo on a further one!





SYAVASH RASTANI (percussion):

Syavash Rastani is a musician with Iranian roots, living in Cologne. He works with bands and artists of different styles. His approach is to connect his traditional drums to various music styles. The drums Syavash plays are named tombak (also tonbak or zarb) and daf (sufi drum).


Together with Mr. Shirazy and the Exile Orchester he uses the drums in a whole new context, also using not merely traditional techniques to join the sound and groove!


BODEK JANKE (drums, percussion):

Bodek is one of the most wanted percussion players worldwide! He already played on countless recordings and projects, from jazz to worldmusic, from rock to electronic, playing in Carnegie Hall or for Dalai Lama; there is literally no genre and stage, where Bodek is not at home. Born in Poland, with roots in Kasachstan and Russia, he studied drums and composition in Cologne/Germany, before he went for a “Master of Arts” in New York and an intense tabla-study with Pandit Samir Chatterjee (Calcuta).


Bodek already played the live drums on OCEAN and will be part of the upcoming album THE ONE as well!

Alessandro de Matteis


is a photographer, videomaker and artist born in Italy. In 1998 he started working on the first photographic and videographic projects. In the 00s he worked and lived in Rome as a freelance photographer for international and national brands. In 2009 he arrived for the first time in Germany and is now based in Cologne, where he also produced together with Glareh Ghydarzadeh and Mr. Shirazy himself the artwork of the album "OCEAN".


In 2014 he founded the Art Collective "Kalypso“, which won the second place among 1750 artists from 75 different countries of the renowned Blooom Prize of the Art Fair in Cologne with the visual art installation "Negua“, exhibited 2017 at the Daegu Art Museum in South Korea.


Matthias Peters


Being a musician and a movie addict for many years, Matthias always tries to combine music and film troughout his diverse projects. He works as a cameraman, producing videos and taking pictures, aiming at expressing feelings troughout a lens, which can be as vibrant and beautiful as any instrument. So he is the hidden member of The Exile Orchestra filming us often at live concerts off- and on-stage!




The trained photographer and camerawoman approached this topic already in her early childhood. Later she discovered the possibilities of digital image processing and developed her own style. Gilioux teamed up with Omid 10 years ago for first audiovisual projects and has been rocking the stage with Mr. Shirazy from the very first concerts as a VJane and visual-artist; also designing and photographing the booklets of our albums.


JOSUÉ AVALOS (guitars, vocals):

He is living in Cologne since 2001. By the age of 14 the guitar became his constant companion. He participated in the Bands “Antara” and “Tanguyú”. Influenced by Latin American folklore and la nueva trova he produced his first self-penned compositions. Later Josué had various opportunities to experiment with electronic music, to play with Roma and to participate in various ensembles in which Latin American music got mixed with other genres. Now he is working on his second solo album.



MARKUS GIESLER (keys, accordion):

Markus graduated in teaching organ at the musical academy of Cologne. He now takes part in divers projects with different genres and plays in the neo folk band “Die Schlagsaite” with whom he tours regularly through Germany. Since 2009 he is also a member of "The Exile Orchestra".


He is living in Cologne, Germany since 1996. By the end of the 90ies he founded the group “Los tres” together with DJ OroNegro and MC Mig and in 2002 the “Chupacabras”, where he is taking part as MC. He is the joker of „The Exile Orchestra“.


OMID SHIRAZY (vocals, electronic, trumpet, visuals):

As result of the Iran-Iraq War 1986 Omid immigrated to Germany. Already early in life the combination of acoustic instruments and electronic devices fascinated him. Omid studied Jazz and electronic composition at the HKA Arnhem/Netherlands and at the Folkwang University Essen. Since 2000 he dedicated himself to visual productions and their co-composition with musical means.
He had various productions and international live-performances as a singer and visual artist in e.g. Moscow, St. Petersburg, Barcelona, Mexico and Thailand. Together with “Tapesh 2012” he was the winner of Creole NRW 2006.
With the invention of his own audiovisual instrument “FREEAK” he accomplished a long pulsating vision: to bring improvisation, live-performance, electronic music and visuals together.




Pix Credit: Alessandro De Matteis, Gilioux Photography, Daniel Koch, Peter Czymanski and Mind on Fire Festival