Om Shira & The Exile Orchestra is the base of an open collective of musicians, dancers, visual artists, photographers, and designers in Cologne/Germany.

"We come a long way, a billion miles we travelled just to be with you..." Billion Miles / The One

What is the best response to a system that doesn't allow you access to musical instruments?

You make your own!

Growing up in post-revolutionary Iran, Om couldn't get his hands on an instrument. So instead, he devoured all the music his father saved and brought home from his vinyl-shop after he had to close it down!

Arriving in Germany without the family as a teen, for Om making music was a real need to survive and to connect to people beyond language barriers. So he started to produce his early tracks on a Commodore-64, bringing friends together to form a live band and touring successfully through Europe and Russia.

Om always felt the urge to fill the gap between live-concerts and DJ-sets. His goal was to innovate the art of live-electronics. His vision of a real live electronic performance led a few years later to his futuristic audiovisual looping instrument called ''Freeak ''.

With his ''One-Man-Jam'', Om blended his original tracks made of electronic beats with live instruments like Guembry and Trumpet, his vocals and countless samples. What started as a solo project, soon attracted more and more musicians and artists from different backgrounds and cultures in the melting pot Cologne.

The Exile Orchestra was born!

The message of connection and healing was always the reason this collective put their energy and spirits together. The collective has meanwhile over 25 members from music, visual arts, dance, costume- and stage-design.

During the covid-lockdown Om went to visit his roots after seven years. A months long stay in the absolute silence of the Mesr Desert gave him the chance to reflect the demise of a close friend, pouring his innervisions about life and death, proximity and distance and healing into new songs. Further he met there new artist friends from the iranian scene, what led to new collborations and videoshootings at the birthplace of the new compositions.

Back in Germany he recorded final versions of the songs refining them with the additional sounds of The Exile Orchestra members. The result is „Heal“, an album not only to listen to, but also to be considered as a tool to come closer to your own soul and...to heal!

Revolutionary Audio Visual Instrument

FREEAK an avantgarde musical and visual looping instrument, is Om Shira´s unique invention, which is going to change the game of playing live electronics on the stage.

One of the main attractions of music has always been experiencing it live. The connection between moving and playing of a musician gives us a feeling for the emotions of the player; even if we don´t know how exactly his instrument (e.i. saxophone) works.

This has been badly missed on electronic music performances. The experience we have on live electronics is mostly some guy standing behind a laptop, staring seriously on its display! Till now...

FREEAK is gonna change this fundamentally. The singer and music producer Omid Shirazy put all his experiences on electronic music into his invention to push the borders on performing and improvising electronic music on the stage.

We will get you now step by step deeper into the world of FREEAK. The heartpiece of the instrument is a 4 track looping studio. You can play, record, mix and loop music on the fly as it happens on the stage. Through different in- and outputs you can grab anything you want; the sound of your voice, the live musicians playing with you, or even the audience crying and loop it into your performance. As we mention Looping:

Looping is THE upcoming discipline of live music by multiplying your musical skills in realtime. This means that you can record one instrument and let it repeat as you play a second layer on the top of it! So you can play a rhythm, add some chords, sing some melodies and so on till you have a complete composition.

Thanks to FREEAK, Om Shira can play solo as an orchestra or a band, allowing the audience to enjoy the “act” of playing, composing and improvising music at once, as it happens on the stage.

But this is just the beginning. There is a huge amount of effects you can use on the sounds you get through FREEAK. The mindpiece of the instrument is the „magical eye“, which allows you to put effects on your sounds just by moving your hand in 3-dimensions above it. You don´t even need to touch it, it works „theremin-like“ and looks like the eye of HAL9000 in Stanley Kubrik´s „Odyssey 2001“. You can even go further and play sounds by just waving your hands above the eye to play drums or synthsounds; looping it directly into FREEAK.

Ready to go one step deeper into the white rabbits hole?
FREEAK is not only a music instrument, but a unique visual machine as well. Om Shira uses at his performances FREEAK not only to create live music, but also to put it together with a stunning visual show. There is a bunch of knobs and controllers integrated into FREEAK, which you can use to organise, release and manipulate different visual clips, their colors, tempo and direction to mention a few!

As you can imagine, the combination of all these possibilities gives you literally inifinite possibilities to create and re-create art pieces. It is a mothership full of technic! But it has still enough space for you to put your essence into it; YOU are the soulpiece of the creation. And this makes FREEAK what it is: A real instrument.

The Exile Orchestra

The Exile Orchestra is an open network of musicians and visual artists around Om Shira 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:

Ryan Carniaux


The Jazz-Professor! Raised in Providence, Rhode Island, Carniaux began playing the trumpet at age twelve; he played in various bands as a teenager, including in John Allmark's jazz orchestra. On a scholarship, he studied at Berklee College of Music with Tiger Okoshi, Greg Hopkins, Phil Wilson, Ken Cervenka, Bill Pierce, Eddie Tomassie and George Garzone. In 2003 he moved to Europe, where he attended the master class at the Maastricht Conservatory. Ryan is meanwhile jazz professor and head of the jazz department at the Folkwang University of Arts!

Laxmi Easwaran


Laxmi is a German-based Ethio-Indian singer-songwriter who strives for a life of freedom, creativity and self-expression. Deeply rooted in music, spiritualism, and personal development, Laxmi is on a mission to inspire people to discover their core and connectedness to life and claim their unique gifts as they walk their sacred paths.

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).

Frederik Köster


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!
Frederik won a wide spectrum of jazz prices as composer and performer ie several Jazz Echoes!

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.

Anja Arnold


Guitarista Anja Arnold was born in Cologne, Germany. She studied guitar at the ArtEZ Conservatorium in Enschede, NL. Today, Anja successfully runs her own music school “Klangbüdchen” (2013-now) in Cologne and played on stages throughout Germany with different projects for almost five years. Her next stop was one of the main roles in the „Beat-it“ European Tour as the Shred Queen Jennifer Batten (2018-2021). In addition to playing Anja wrote and produced music for multiple Grimme Online Award nominees in the last years.

Mohammad Azari

Tanbur & Photography

Born in 1988 in Isfahan Iran, Mohamad Javad Azari started "playing with the music" from early childhood; from pots and glasses to guitars, piano, electric bass, violin, vocals and years after, by Iranian traditional instruments like Se-Tar and Tanbour. Now he spends most of his daily time composing and improvising while hitchhiking around the iranian country during the four seasons. He further is a gifted photographer and shot some of the amazing images you see on our website from the desert.

Josué Avalos

Guitars, Vocals

By the age of 14 the guitar became Josué´s 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. Meanwhile he is part of the Riosenti project and one of the oldest members of The Exile Orchestra

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 toured in earlier years regularly through Germany.

Glareh Ghydarzadeh


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 Om Shira from the very first concerts as a VJane and visual-artist; also designing and photographing the booklets of our albums.

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!

Simi Crowns


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.

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