Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Melody for Peace

This is not the kind of music I like. It is not evil music; it is not salacious. But I find it boring. Still, attempts of this kind should not be overlooked regardless of differences in taste.

'A Melody for Peace'
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Iran, Chris de Burgh to sing for peace

12 Nov 2007

Iran's Arian music band has collaborated with the celebrated Irish musician and singer Chris De Burgh to sing 'A Melody for Peace'.

The song, which calls for love, shows the peace-loving Iranian spirit to the people of the world.

This is the first time that a famous foreign artist has taken part in a joint music production with an Iranian band. 'A Melody for Peace' could be a great start for Iran's international musical collaborations.

Chris De Burgh is a world-famous Irish musician who was selected as a UN Ambassador to promote food campaign initiatives against malnutrition.

'A Melody for Peace', which is passing its final production stage, will be included in Arian Band's forthcoming album.

Arian is one of the most popular bands in Iran and has performed numerous successful concerts around the globe.

The band is slated to perform 'A Melody for Peace in a concert on December 22nd, 2007 in Tehran.

March 17, 2004

Why is he so popular in Iran?!

Chris De Burgh, the British pop singer, has recently released his last album called "The Road To Freedom." The album will be available in Canada on April 19, 2004. A pure Chris De Burgh. As one of the most popular western pop singers in Iran, many Iranians have been following his music for years. If we compare this with their world-wide popularity, then with no doubt, Christopher J. Davison alias Chris de Burgh (CdeB) is the number one. Why is he so popular in Iran? He, himself, is very surprised about the CdeB phenomenon in Iran. I try to find an answer to this question.

Suggested answer: CdeB has been strongly in touch with Iranians and that is why Iranians appreciate him. I list some evidence which I think would be interesting for the reader:

He has never lost an opportunity to make a connection with his fans in Iran and to express his dream of having a concert in Iran:

-I know that this is a country that I am popular in and I was speaking to some Iranian people recently about my desire to go back there and they gave me the feeling that it may not be possible at the moment. Certainly not to go there and play and sing. But it’s certainly a dream I will like to continue with, and I would love to do it some day.

-I would of course very very strongly wish to visit Iran and perform there, even a solo concert I would be very happy to do that.

-I'd like to stress how excited I am to receive all those messages from my fans in Iran. … I would love to do concerts in Iran. I know there are big changes going on in that country, and I certainly would like to feel that I would be welcome in Iran by so many fans who have been in touch and so many people who want to hear me what I do. I think if the authorities would relax a little bit and let people like me in.

-I had no idea that my lyrics have been translated into Farsi. ... I have been particularly impressed by the number of people who log on my website from Iran. And trust me when I say that I cannot wait to go there and sing on probably a solo tour to start with. It is difficult, but I want to say a very personal thank you to all my supporters from Iran.

On Shirin Ebadi’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize:

-When I read the news, I was absolutely delighted for a number of reasons that I have mentioned in the past like my interest in Iran and the continuing struggle there to change things. And I was absolutely thrilled and delighted when I heard about this major, major victory. Particularly when it's on a world stage like the Nobel Peace Prize. So again many congratulations for that! Because I am sure, all Iranian people share in her joy and her belief that things can change, if you work hard enough, if you sacrifice yourself and if you take risks.

A special message from Chris de Burgh on the earthquake in Bam:

-I am sending my sincere condolences, thoughts and sympathy to all my friends and fans in Iran who have suffered during the recent earthquake in Bam-Kerman. My thoughts are with you.

However, his reminding of his interests in Iran and his Iranian fans has nothing to do with his popularity for a couple of reasons:

(1) It is not more than a few years that CdeB has realized about his surprising popularity in Iran. His popularity in Iran is almost 20 years old. He was a beloved pop singer in Iran when he would never talk about his Iranian fans.

(2) CdeB has sung only one song which has something to do with Iran: "Eastern Wind." Surprisingly, this song, and in fact the whole album (album is called "Eastern Wind" too), is one his least popular songs in Iran.

-I was writing this from the point of view of a farmer in the Midwest of America, who doesn't understand too much of what's going on. But he puts his own feeling to it and his own thoughts and he doesn’t like what's happening [in particular, 1979 revolution in Iran]. And he knows that this is something that should it come anywhere closer to him like a bad storm to a farmer, he will have to react and protect himself and his family and indeed his country from further threat.

I believe, however, the following reasons, altogether, made him a big shot in Iran:

(1) In the early 90’s in Iran, right at the time when CdeB was blooming, the pop music was totally banned. Note that it was only in the late 90’s when specific forms of traditional music could be produced in Iran. Iranian pop-music-in-exile had not been entirely formed. So, western music became the first musical resource for Iranian youth. Western pop music was the closest category to the Iranian musical habits (in compare with Rock, Jazz, etc.). For the same reason the only Rock album of CdeB—"This Way Up"—did not meet his Iranian fans’ expectations.

(2) The English that CdeB sings is easy for his Iranian fans to understand. His songs are more audible in the sense that an Iranian can catch most of the words when he sings. The lyrics usually do not contain high level English vocabulary such that an Iranian high school graduate can understand the most of it.

(3) CdeB used to dress the way that Iranians call it normal. He neither has a strange hair style nor wears make up. He is not accompanied by a bunch of sexy girls on the stage. He does not make the so-called dandy gestures there (just compare him with other singers of his era—which is not over yet). This makes him fit in our cultural definition of a "gentleman."

(4) Iranian culture is sexually shy. Songs about earthy loves are not that welcome in this culture. And, most of CdeB’s love songs can be easily interpreted as holy love songs. The fact that CdeB has not made many video clips for his songs has intensified this picture of him.

(5) While this culture seeks for spiritual qualities of this singer, his fate-based songs such as "Spaceman," "The Risen Lord," "Saint Peter's Gate" and etc. fit well even in the Islamic system of beliefs. This search for spiritual qualities in a person, has sometimes made the culture to see the person as they like ad not as he/she is. In Iran and only in Iran, there has been this rumor that CdeB has been a priest (or his mother wanted him to be a priest) but he has understood that his songs has more influence than his preaching. Another interesting fact is that many of his Iranian fans have asked him why he has never sung a song for his mother and her true love. We like him to be one of us, so we see him that way.

(6) Last but not least, who can ignore the fact that for some strange reason, he has always had our lullabies. When our soldiers were leaving for the battle field he had "Borderline"; when they were coming back he had "Last Night"; when their bodies were coming back he had "The Simple Truth"; and you name it.

Walking past the border guards,
Reaching for her hand,
Showing no emotion,
I want to break into a run,
But these are only boys, and I will never know,
How men can see the wisdom in a war...

Babak Farzad [info|posts]

Saturday November 24, 2007 - 08:46am (EST)

This was cut and pasted from:
canada, canadian search engine, free email, canada news
Chris de Burgh concert gets Iranian seal of approval

TEHRAN - Iranian authorities have approved a plan for concerts by an Iranian pop group and singer Chris de Burgh in Tehran, the group's manager said today.

The concerts, set for the middle of next year, would be the first time since the 1979 revolution that an Iranian pop band had played alongside a Western singer inside the Islamic Republic, Arian's manager Mohsen Rajabpour said.

Rajabpour, director of Taraneh Sharghi music company, said Arian and de Burgh had recorded a song called "A Melody for Peace" which he said was intended "to reflect the peace-seeking spirit of the Iranian people to the world."

"We are trying to organize the concerts, scheduled for June and July," he told Reuters, confirming a report carried by Iran's Fars New Agency.

The plan is to hold the concert at a 12,000-seat stadium complex in Tehran. De Burgh is expected to visit Iran early next year as a tourist for discussions on the project.

De Burgh, born of British parents and brought up in Ireland, is popular in Iran and his website has several entries from Iranian fans.

"Iran is definitely 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," de Burgh replied to one Iranian in a message posted in 2002.

Western pop songs with lyrics are banned by Iran's authorities although state radio sometimes plays instrumental versions. Iranian pop bands say their lyrics and tunes are vetted before they can be officially sold in Iran.

Pirate versions of the latest Western albums or songs by underground Iranian groups are available on the black market.

"The head of the music centre of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has officially announced that there is no problem with holding a joint performance," Rajabpour said when asked whether his plan had been approved.

Iranian pop groups say plans to hold concerts have to go through a tortuous process to obtain permission. Lyrics are studied to ensure they do not contradict Islamic values and even the music style, such as the use of guitar feedback, prompt disapproval for having too much Western influence, they say.

Iran is locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear ambitions which Western nations fear are aimed at building bombs. Tehran insists its intentions are entirely peaceful.

Reuters 2007



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