In Iran the Islamic government restricts women from performing their music alone on stage. For one musician, Farzane Zamen, this drove her out of her home country and eventually forced her to seek asylum in Scotland.
Today she is a working musician in that foreign place. Time will only tell if she will be safe to travel back to Iran but until then she will continue to make her music.
Mehdi Rajabian once served two years, of a larger sentence, in prison in Tehran, Iran, for making music. The oppression the government shows artists in the country is immense but some people, like Mehdi, continue to create beauty despite the threat of incarceration.
His latest work needs to be shared by the rest of us who are not facing the same hardship. This beautiful album, which can be streamed below, features artists from 12 middle eastern countries and includes songs recorded during war and during an escape on a boat by a refugee.
Halldór is the managing editor of Shouts – Music from the Rooftops!, an investigative journalist, audio engineer and an animal rights activist on a nomad journey through Europe – still without a definite destination.
The fact that governments censor music and openly show their fear of lyrics and an artist’s performance demonstrates the power of that music. It can strike courage into the good and fear into the greedy and it can move the masses.
Iranian singer Mehdi Yarrahi had to walk off the stage at a recent concert because the Iranian government has censored his popular protest song Pareh Sang. This is an anti-war song in which Yarrahi sings about the conflict between Iran and Iraq that has been hurting people on both sides for many years.
Because of the censorship only the song’s audio was played through the sound system and Yarrahi left the stage.
So, the audience took it to themselves to carry on the message and joined together singing the uncensored lyrics, as seen in the video below.
Cover image is a snapshot from Mehdi Yarrahi’s music video on YouTube.