Music > Persian Musicians > ISLAMIC PERESTROIKA OR CULTURAL NORMALIZATION? BY DARIUS KADIVAR
British Pop Star Chris de Burgh and Iranian Band Arian to perform together on Iranian Stage
Chris de Burg the British Pop Icon of the 80's who gained international fame with his hit song Lady in Red has recently announced that he intends to perform in Iran along with the Rock Band Arian (the only offiicially recognized Pop Band of mixed genders). One can interrogate if this is a sign of ouverture for the Islamic Republic in regard to its cultural ambitions given the fact that Western Music apart from Classical music is strictly banned in Iran (despite the great success of underground bands that find their ways into Iranian households some of whome like Kiosk have chosen exile in order to exist) or simply a successful joint initiative from the British Artist and the Iranian Pop band. Whichever the case, this is a constructive initiative that deserves attention and encouragement.
VIVE LE DIALOGUE DES CULTURES!
& VIVE LA MUSIQUE!
Below Robert Tait Reports for the British Daily the Guardian.
De Burgh to be first global star to rock Iran since 1979
Robert Tait in Tehran
Monday December 17, 2007
The Guardian His folksy middle-of-the-road rock and schmaltzy balladry may have opened him up to much mockery over the years. But not in Tehran. Chris de Burgh is to capitalize on his inoffensive image and not inconsiderable following in the Islamic republic by becoming the first major western artist to perform live since the 1979 revolution.
The culture and Islamic guidance ministry has relaxed its hostile policy towards western pop music by giving De Burgh, 59, permission to stage a concert in Tehran next year. He is expected to play in a 12,000-seater venue with an Iranian band, Arian, with whom he has recorded a song, A Melody For Peace.
Arian's manager, Mohsen Rajabpour, said the singer - an ambassador to the UN's anti-malnutrition programme - planned a preparatory trip to Iran before the Iranian new year next March.
Approval for the concert comes amid growing intolerance of western culture under Iran's Islamist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. CDs by internationally popular acts have become harder to obtain while the government has pressed state broadcasters to favour Iranian over western music, some of which has been denounced as satanist.
But De Burgh's relatively uncontroversial persona has apparently persuaded the authorities to draw a distinction between him and more exotic performers. Officials were unavailable to comment yesterday on whether the lyrics to Lady in Red might be considered a bit steamy.
They may also have been persuaded by his description in 2002 of Iran as 'one of those countries I would love to visit, not only for historical reasons but also for the fact that I believe that music is an international language and deserves to be heard all over the world'.
Lesser known acts have already managed to play live to Iranian fans. Henrik Nagy, a Swedish-born rock musician, played at Tehran's Niavaran Palace shortly after Ahmadinejad took office in 2005.
Pop concerts are rare in Iran and have to be approved by the culture and Islamic guidance ministry, which scrutinizes lyrics and musical style for 'un-Islamic' influences. Many artists only perform instrumental pieces to avoid giving offence. Some bands also play illicit gigs in 'underground' venues, such as car parks, an offence that can result in imprisonment.
The authorities have approved western classical musical. Last August, the Osnabruck Symphony Orchestra became the first western orchestra to play in Iran since the revolution.
Official Website of Chris de Burg: www.cdeb.com
Official site of Arian Band: www.arianmusic.com/en/arian.htm