Performing Arts

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Rana Farhan, blending Rumi and the Blues

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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 >

Moshkin-Ghalam at Backstage, CA, Aug. 2011

Moshkin-Ghalam’s interpretation of Iraj Mirza’s “Zhohreh & Manouchehr”

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Zohreh & Manouchehr, the poem

Zohreh & Manouchehr is a 23-page long poem written by the early 20th century Iranian poet and satirist Iraj Mirza, who in turn based it on William Shakespeare’s poem “Venus and Adonis”. And this story has ties to the ancient Greek mythology.

It is the story of Zohreh (Venus, the goddess of love and beauty) who one day comes to earth in the form of a beautiful woman for a short rest, and by accident runs into the young and handsome prince, Manouchehr, next to a stream and at once desires him. So she sets out to pursue and seduce him. Manouchehr who is out with his More >

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Let no love fall victim to Circumstance

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I first heard about the film Circumstance (also see IMDB and this) during its world premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. It was one of the 16 films out of more than 1,100 submissions that was selected for the Sundance film competition, and it went on to win the “Audience Award: Dramatic“.

Luckily I had the chance to see it at the San Francisco International Film Festival this week. Both screenings were sold out early on but I managed to get a ticket from a friend. I loved it. It is a beautiful, luscious, sensual and sexually charged drama, done artfully and tastefully. It is More >

Mehrnoosh

Mehrnoosh, a new voice in the Persian pop music

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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 >

Shoorangiz Ensemble, June 2010

Meehan Ensemble: Fresh sounds in the Bay Area Persian music scene

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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 >

Golshifteh Farahani

Golshifteh Farahani & her song Sokoot

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The beautiful and capable Iranian actress, Golshifteh Farahani, has appeared in movies such as

Golshifteh Farahani

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 >

An old Pink Floyd song covered green for Iran

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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 >

Shajarian with Shahnaz Ensemble, LA, May 2010

Shajarian, with new sounds & a touch of green

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Shajarian & Persian traditional music

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, Seattle, July 2009

Hamed Nikpay in concert — LA, Oct. 3 2009

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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 >

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