When I was first contacted by a "friend" to review his new
album, I was at first a bit startled. Although I had known this "friend" had
a wonderful voice, and I knew it would only be a matter of time before
he put an album out, I never expected that he would bring his talents
to disc by adopting an alter ego, Zubin.
let you in on a secret, you see Zubin is not his real name. Now if
I told you that Zubin was actually one of Silicon Valley's more successful
entrepreneurs, and a beloved friend of the Iranian community, you would
not only not believe me, but you might even slap me! Possibly twice!
I note this for one reason, and this is that all too often, I feel
that we have over-pursued Western professional careers and high-technological
accomplishments, and surprise surprise, it has failed to define us
in any significant way. I'll even argue that flourishing and embracing
the arts, develops our culture much more than mere economic achievement.
best example of this is in Zubin's latest creation, a wonderfully romantic
album entitled "Nameh" (The Letter).
The album is a perfect blend of the spoken word, a great baritone
vocal, and a fresh soundtrack that delivers something new to an audience,
starved to connect with it.
The Letter is a love letter from an imaginary (or is he real?) man
living outside of Iran to a long lost lover from the days of their
youth, just as he is getting ready to go to Iran for his first visit
home in 20+ years.
that's pretty much all I'm going to say about it. You'll just have
to get the album and listen to it. The spoken word is very personal
and it feels as if you are sneakily reading a private love letter you
have discovered in someone's secret hiding place. Only you're listening
Yes, it's a little strange, but highly intoxicating in a voyeuristic
sort of way.
Women have especially enjoyed this album and I can't seem to keep
my copy, as everyone has borrowed it. Men like it a lot but may not
admit it readily, since we are often too tough or too cool to be so
obviously romantic. But you know as I do that deep inside we all are
The music is a sexy blend of lounge-piano with a great jazz ballady
feel to it. The piano, sax and string infusion is western and familiar,
but with a subtly discernible Persian feel to it. It's almost as if
Kourosh Yaghmaie had expanded and evolved to this level.You can sense
of us old enough to remember what Tehran was like before the revolution,
will have an incredible nostalgia rush, as Zubin re-awakens old memories
of walking on Tehran streets in the evenings, past the many hotspots
we all used to hang out at. A sometimes difficult journey, nonetheless
one I highly recommend you take.
It's a wonderful ache and surprisingly it doesn't hurt as much as
one would think. When you're done, you will feel alive again, and young
again as you anticipate the meeting of the lovers in the story. Days
later you'll still remember this album. And you will re-listen to it,
because it's one of those albums in which you hear new things you missed
the first time.
After I stopped for a while, I suddenly wondered if in fact the lover
in the letter was even intended to be a real lover in the first place.
Maybe, just maybe, the lover is not a woman afterall, maybe the lover
is Iran herself.
Let me know if you agree.