I vaguely recall a popular social game that children used to play in Iran, Amoo Zanjeer baaf (literally “uncle chain-knitter”). The game has lyrics that kids would sing:عمو زنجیرباف، زنجیرم بافتی؟ - بله پشته کوه انداختی؟ - بله …
I don’t exactly remember how the game was played; and I wouldn’t be writing this piece had it not been for a beautiful song by the same name, Amoo Zanjeer Baaf, written, composed and performed by a young Iranian musician, Mohammad Reza Asrar, that I recently came across.
Amoo Zaneer Baaf in Asrar’s song is not a friend to the children. Quite the contrary, he’s an More >
Iranian cultures and arts are rich and diverse, and have their roots in the ancient civilizations that developed as early as the fourth millennium BCE — about 4,000 years before any theistic religion came to existence — across the Iranian plateau.
We have a rich history and culture that we should know about, celebrate and be proud of. Long before Islam came to existence, Zoroastrainism (6th century BC), was the ancient Iranian religion that advocated good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. It survives to More >
I had the opportunity to see the recent concert by Niyaz in the San Francisco Bay Area (at Yoshi’s Oakland in September), as part of their world tour. After performances in Oakland, LA and Vancouver, their tour went on to Tunisia, Turkey and Slovenia in October and they have concerts in NYC, Toronto and Philadelphia in November. For details on their upcoming performances see the event calendar.
Rana Farhan, the New York based Iranian singer, along with her band, had a performance at Yoshi’s San Francisco, on October 2, 2011, that was quite well-received.
“I do not know how Rana manages to combine the classical Persian poetry with contemporary jazz and blues and make it sound so good but she does it,” said Sharareh, one of Rana Farhan’s fans at Yoshi’s in San Francisco.
As an Iranian American singer, Rana Farhan has found a way to sing the rich classical poetry of Iran with the underground sound of the America, jazz and blues. Her ability to fuse these two very distinct cultures and More >
I am generally not a huge fan of Persian pop music except some old timers like Dariush, Farhad (RIP), Googoosh, Haydeh (RIP), among few others, many of whom have been performing since before the 1979 revolution.
Among the newer pop singers I like the Iran-based Mohsen Chavoshi with melancholic love songs. The rapper, Shahin Najafi who is based in Europe, has got powerful social/political lyrics, though it is not really pop music.
And of course we have the SF Bay Area based Kiosk lead by Arash Sobhani, with his insightful social and political songs. But again in terms of style of music they More >
At the end of June 2010, shortly after my move to the San Francisco Bay Area, I had the opportunity to attend a Persian classical music concert by the local group Meehan Ensemble. I was up for a very pleasant surprise — a beautifully arranged performance with all original compositions. It was also a very a well-rehearsed and well-organized concert that I enjoyed very much.
Faraz Minooei, who along with Naser Sheikhzadegan, co-founded Meehan Ensemble in 2008, dedicated the concert to the great santur virtuoso Parviz Meshkatian, who passed away in 2009. Faraz also announced that the group would More >
The beautiful and capable Iranian actress, Golshifteh Farahani, has appeared in movies such as
Santoori (2007, in Persian) and “Body of Lies” (2008, co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio), following which the cleric-run Iranian government banned her from travel outside of Iran. Once she got out, she never returned and currently lives in Paris. Her more recent film is “About Elly” (2009) by the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, which won several awards.
Golshifteh has also done some music work. She plays piano quite well and in fact played the piano in movie Santouri. She also did More >
Last week I heard of an interesting new video music that emerged from Canada. The famous Pink Floyd song, Another Brick in the Wall, written by the great Roger Waters in 1979, is now reworked and covered by Blurred Vision, a band of two young Iranian brothers, Sepp and Solh in Toronto. The famous line in the original song, “Hey. teacher, leave us kids alone” is replaced with “Hey, ayatollah, leave those kids alone”. The cover is put to quite a telling video that shows a mullah and the security forces chasing after and beating the young protesters in Iran. The video is directed by the Iranian More >
The legendary Iranian vocalist and composer, ostad (maestro) Mohammad Reza Shajarian has been a prominent name in the Persian traditional music scene since early 1960s. He is widely acknowledged as one of the best and most popular among Iranians. He has also received international awards and recognition, including UNESCO Golden Picasso Medal (1999) and Mozart medal (2006), and two Grammy Best World Music nominations (2004 and 2006).
As a child I remember my mom listening to him and watching his performances in TV. But not having any musical training nor More >
Hamed Nikpay‘s concert tour for his wonderful CD “All is Calm” is tonight in LA. It is unfortunate that this overlaps with the concert by master Shahram Nazeri and his son, Hafez Nazeri. First off, it is really a shame that these two performances have to overlap. It is not that often that we get such high quality performances. It is partly bad planning or perhaps lack of adequate communication. Unfortunately this seems to happen often in our Iranian community. I know many people including myself who have chosen to go see one, would go see the other if they were in different nights. s much I’d More >