This Summer at the Houtfestival in Haarlem in the Netherlands, I spoke to the Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat for VPRO Vrije Geluiden. Internationally she is known for her performances with her sister Marjan Vahdat. In Iran they are not allowed to play in public, only for a female audience. That doesn’t stop her from making music and poetry in her home country. Mahsa also encourages and teaches the Persian vocal art to women in Iran. Since 2007 she is one of the ambassadors of Freemuse. In the video-interview below she tells me about the importance of poetry.Continue reading “Poets are the true storytellers”- an interview with Mahsa Vahdat
– Marseille. Babel Med is a world music expo and conference from 20-22 of March, in Marseille. The organization likes to program showcases with an interesting story, like the Libyan hiphop crew G.A.B. and Israeli singer Rita Jahanforuz, simply known as Rita. With a career of 25 years, sold-out concerts and multi-platinum records, Rita is one of the Israeli top female singers. Since her album My Joys (2011), she became even big in Iran. As a born Iranian, Rita decided to record a personal album inspired by her Persian heritage. News & Noise joined in at the press conference and learned that her music is more than just showbiz.Continue reading Big in Iran – an interview with Rita
The Iranian-Israeli relations are – and always have been – a very complex matter. Of course this is on a political level, but what about the people? To my surprise I met the Dutch-Iranian (or Iranian-Dutch) Sahand Sahebdivani about two weeks ago at a cafe in Amsterdam. He was in a meeting on a project named ‘Kingdom of Fire and Clay’ in which he and his Israeli friend Raphael Rodan will challenge each other with stories from their home country. I know Sahand as a professional storyteller, radio maker and journalist – recently he has been appointed Storyteller of the Year 2014 (Stichting Vertellen). His parents sought political asylum in the Netherlands in the 1980s. Sahand still was a toddler. Years later they had a little tea house at the Jordaan in Amsterdam, where every musician was welcome to jam (see video below). There Sahand could develop his talents as a musician.Continue reading Iran vs Israel – an interview with Sahand Sahebdivani
Last Saturday, Iranian people were taken by surprise in a strange way. The Good Morning Iran Show for IRIB’s Channel 1, broadcasted music from the group Avaye Parsian (Persian voice)! The group, led by musician Saman Alipour, consists of kamancheh (a bowed string instrument) santoor (a trapezoid-shaped dulcimer) played by wooden hammers and tar (lute). You might think that it is pretty normal to show traditional instruments on TV, but this is really unusual for Iranian people. They were even not sure if they were dreaming or not. For many of them it was the first time they had seen such instruments on national television.Continue reading Persian instruments on TV!
The song Naghi by Persian rapper and poet Shahin Najafi has caused a lot of commotion. The satirical song is written in the form of a prayer to Ali An-Naqi, the tenth of the 12 Shia Muslim Imams, a religious figure highly respected by millions in Iran. In the song Ali An-Naqi should get Iran back on track, solving real problems like sanctions, the rising dollar to nose jobs, and prayer rugs made in China. Soon after the song’s release in May the fatwa is pronounced. Najafi is declared an apostate by religious leaders, a crime punishable by death in Iran. The site Shia-Online, which runs on the regime-controlled .ir domain, has offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who kills Najafi. (Guardian)Continue reading Shahin Najafi reached the point of no return