A beautiful song to the end of a beautiful day. I came across this soulful song by the young Iranian artist, Mohsen Namjoo, a few days ago and have not been able to stop listening to it since. In the most humble of settings, Namjoo sings directly to you and although you may not understand his words, you cannot help but feel the depth of the emotion behind each word.
Category Archives: music
A friend sent me this clip from a performance by Kuoban ensemble (formerly 40-daf) in Tehran. It is a combination of Kurdish and Luri music. We recently had a trip to Sanandaj in Kurdestan. The nature, people, music, and costumes are breath-taking and fascinating. Delightful yet traditional, proud, and strong. Enjoy:
As a young child growing up, I would listen to famous classical singers of my parents’ generation such as Hayedeh and Mahasti. Mind you, this was not my choice. My mother loved (and continues to love) classical music and the depth of their songs, their voices. So what seemed like every day, we would listen to Golha-ye Rangarang or Gol-e Gandom or Azadeh or Khodahafez or any of the other multitude of songs put out by Hayedeh and Mahasti that became instant hits and that I used to passionately hate. Whenever I would complain that the songs were too “funeral-like”, my mom would smile and continue singing along, amused by my boredom and distaste. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I heard a lecture by the world renown author, Salman Rushdie. A man whose mere mention evokes controversy and emotion for many. Even my mother asked me, “Why do you want to hear what he has to say?” But I thought, what good has my education and upbringing done for me if I can not use it to engage myself intellectually with controversial issues? I wanted to hear what he would say, knowing that I may disagree with his comments. I think most people know of Salman Rushdie for his controversial novel, “The Satanic Verses”, which generated much criticism from the Muslim world and even drew an order threatening his life. However, I was surprised that despite my criticism for some of his arguments, I found myself appreciating other arguments he offered, including his view on literature.
Rushdie grew up in Bombay, a city established by the British in India. Rushdie says that this dynamic of the city made him aware of Eastern and Western culture at a very early age. His family was friends with the Urdu poet, Faiz, and he credits his early literary influence to him. He says it is through literature that he learned about the world. His point was that reading literature from different parts of the world is a way for us to access foreign places, people and cultures.
Although fictional stories may have many things that are ‘made-up‘, the environment and the character’s reactions to events teach us much about culture. He noted how literature used to be the method that brought news to the world. He gave the example of when Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, met President Lincoln in 1862, he said, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!” Her novel, being based on actual experiences and anecdotes, was vital in starting the movement opposing slavery. He stressed the importance that we should read about other cultures. A statistic he cited was that less than 2% of books published in the US are translations not originally written in English. American English readers are denied access to a large portion of the world’s literature.
Despite modern technology, I sometimes wonder how all this advancement has caused us to become more lazy, more sheltered. We can easily access the news online, on demand, even watch “one minute world news.” But what are we really learning about the world and each other through these ‘short cuts’? Now that I have less time to read, I find myself choosing non-fiction books in the hopes I can learn something solid in the time I have. Perhaps I need to pick up a good foreign novel next time.
On a somewhat lighter note, Salman Rushdie also wrote the lyrics to the U2 song, “The ground beneath her feet”. Here is the video to the song…
I thought I would post a music video that has a funny take on a “khastegari” mentioned in Shideh’s post. Unfortunately, while the lyrics are in Farsi, I think the video itself will give our non-Farsi speaking readers a visual image of this tradition. It is by a young band – the Abjeez – comprised of Iranian and non-Iranian individuals who have come together to give a creative twist to Iranian pop music and who have enjoyed great success in recent years. Enjoy!
A remarkable talent and an amazing voice: Hamed Nikpay’s music takes me back to Tehran’s old “khocheh baagh’s” (narrow streets separating beautiful gardens of Tehran), the remains of which can still be found in places like Darband or Maghsood Beig. At the same time, his music amazingly represents a multi-cultural background and his recent songs show a strong Indian and Spanish (Flamenco) influence. I’m desperately waiting for his new CD that hasn’t been released yet, but to get a glimpse of what he’s about, here is one of his most beautiful songs. However, nothing can prepare you for the new CD that is going to come out soon. Enjoy: