Wedding Singer goes for the Bride!
most, I will avoid eating my words under almost any
conditions, but I must come clean and say that I
was wrong and traditional Iranian Pop is not as dead
as I had thought. At least not in the case of Rushid's
new album "Zang-e-Seda".
have to say that this latest effort by a frequent
club and wedding singer is a wonderfully balanced
album of poppy songs that are well crafted, recorded
and even more expertly sung by long time Bay Area
favorite Rushid Safarzadeh.
has the ability to endear you to him when he is on
stage. He isn't bigger than the wedding, he isn't
stuck up like other singers, and you simply can't
help but like the guy. He is genuine, energetic,
hardworking, and above all fun. His voice is what
I would call versatile, capable of belting out a
wide range, a necessity when you have to deal with
the bride's mom, and the groom's aunt's demands at
your average Iranian wedding.
the now standard addition of techno on every pop
album these days, Rushid's "Nagoo Man" delivers
not only an infective dance track, but catchier lyrics
and you can't help but sing along to;
begoo man o to.
roozegar" reminds me of those long road trips
we used to take by car from Tehran to Esfahan, or
Shiraz, when listening to Iranian radio was pure,
risk free, and a quality experience. The wonderful
keyboarding is imaginative, and classic at the same
time. Just when I think the reminiscing is over,
he pulls out the spoken poetry at the very end of
the song. A nice touch.
above all, respectful fun is what this album is all
about. While I am bored with the LA style 6/8, don't
mistake 6/8 for a good perky and sly baba karam which
is sprinkled gracefully on "Gole Naz Sahar",
although you may have heard me say how tired I have
become of the over used bandari song that seems to
dominate each album out of LA these days, Rushid
does something different with his bandari rendition
on "Khorshid Khanoom", more of an old school
application utilizing the complex afro-arabian rhythms
that you can't quite figure out until the singing
starts. Whatever it is, it's very nice and like the
whole album, very easy and fun to listen to.
those of us who have followed Rushid over the years,
it's great to finally see this talented singer and
endearing entertainer step away from the awesome
live events and wedding parties he does, and have
him be the aroos for a change!
listen to a compilation sample of Rushid's "Zang-e-Seda" Click
buy Rushid's album "Zang e Seda" Click
July 28, 2005
maybe not exactly, but it's a good title for an article,
and a good effort for first timers Kiosk and their debut
album "adameh mamooli" (Ordinary Man), one of
the up and coming underground (literally) Iranian alternative
bands, slowly starting to come out into the light.
think for the first time, I have heard lyrics that actually
mean something, expressing the growing frustration and
boredom with an increasingly materialistic and decadent
life in modern day Iran. A refreshing and honest commentary
on the superficial social scene Iran has become.
am glad Kiosk said it, because I know that a lot of us
over here have been thinking it, but couldn't dare say
it, as we watch the increasingly pervasive nose jobs, and "wet
look" hairstyles and general "punky" attitude
coming over in sloppy steamy buckets of pictures from today's
Iran. Usually announced on an email from a friend who has
been browsing one of the many "Tehran??.com" sites,
often accompanied by the comment "...look how advanced
Kiosk tells us the real truth with hard biting roots rock
rough edged but finely honed guitar licks, accompanied
by equally torsh barb-wired lyrics like;
yaani yeh mardeh kheeki
banki, masheeneh meshki...
yaani, chand ta bacheyeh loos
hafteh, jaddeyeh chaloos...
yaani gooshieh mobylet
khoonat, ya markeh shalvaret...
an almost embarrassing homage to Mark Knopfler of Dire
Straits fame, with a dash of Stevie Ray Vaughan blues guitar
work, thrown in for good measure, Arash, the lead singer
and principal guitarist, shows he has been doing his homework
and belts out the wonderful bitterness with aplomb.
first I wondered about the overall sound, but as I listened
to the words, I found it to be an excellent choice for
the material, and the songs are new and fresh versions
of familiar roots rock. Basically this is a rock/blues
album with Iranian lyrics. Isn't that weird! (veird?)
especially liked the commentary on "zorbaye
malayeri", a song set to a ridiculously addictive
zorba-the-greek style song (it even picks up speed as you
go!), but with such bitter soft lyrics that cut through
the twanging guitar, all add up to make the song all that
more politically dangerous and extremely funny to listen
to. Here's an example of what I mean,
exeereh javooni, Ba suction, ba lifting
faghat hameeneh, jarrahieh pelasteek
o body building
adam mard misheh
ring or lasteek?
mamooli" the singer puts down all of the showing
off going on, about which movies are cool to be seen
at, which poem is popular to quote, who's rich and owns
which factory, by exclaiming himself to be an ordinary
man, a self for self's sake. And content to be so. Yearning
for normal ordinariness. That's pretty bold given what
braggarts we tend to be.
man bood" the singer decides to simply take
the blame for and appease all of the common complaints
about all the ills in the world, including Tehran traffic, why
the national soccer team loses by playing "too emotionally",
Iraq, Israel and even managing to squeeze in the Tamil
Tigers, which I thought was an especially creative rhyme.
While it may not actually solve any of the endless problems
it lists, it is nevertheless cathartic to hear him address
them and suggest that if you want to blame someone, anyone,
you can blame him, if it makes you feel better. And it
kind of does.
you can't play this music anywhere publicly inside Iran,
understandably the band is literally underground, and I
predict, about to become a phenomenon. But with a twist.
It wouldn't be Iranian without one! The lead singer Arash
(not even sure that is his real name) is based in Tehran,
he put the initial guitar and vocal tracks together and
sent them out on a CD, actually hand carried by a traveling
passenger, to his childhood collaborators who now live
in Canada, and the US respectively. Each added his part
and sent it back to Arash for finishing, then the whole
album was finally mixed and produced by Bamahang
Productions out of Canada, who rightfully claim to
be "...established by musicians, run by musicians,
for musicians". (Wake up LA!)
overall quality of the recording is superb given the distance
challenges (see above), but recording software has clearly
come a long way and nothing surprises me anymore, except
maybe why LA can barely pull off 192 on their recordings?
But I shouldn't even bother anymore.
you like your music fine and dandy, and happen to like
your head where it is, namely buried in the sand, this
album is not for you. Simply move along, and keep on 6/8-ing
your decadent ass off. But if you miss having ample doses
of rough harsh truth in your music, and more importantly,
can handle it, this is one of the strongest efforts put
forward by anyone so far. Maybe too strong for you.
and enjoy, but do it with caution because this album will
do something most Iranians don't count on, and what most
Iranian popular music doesn't do, and that is to make you
actually think. Now that's veird!
Buy Kiosk's album "Adameh Mamooli" Click
Productions for more alternative Iranian music Click