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The clap is back
Iranian Pop concert

By Syma Sayyah
October 22, 2002
The Iranian

I am just coming from a pop concert, not too far from my home. I was so touched I don't think it is relevant who the singer was. The concert took place at an exhibition centre. The hall was not full because of lack of publicity. There is always a danger with such events. They can not advertise it long in advance unless it is sponsored by "them".

Almost all of current working Pop singers have a song or two relating to holy names. When I heard one tonight, I could not stop laughing, as merchandising the holies kept coming into my mind. There is so much happening here with youth in this land it is amazing. The boys and girls of the band were so relaxed and with it -- and a couple of them were cool by any standards.

There were10 in the orchestra and the chorus consisted of five more ladies. The lead singer wore white-silk-cotton suit and a black T-shirt. One of the classic guitar players was a young tall lady.

You may say, Why do I waste your time and even bother to mention this? There was something odd there. Even though the orchestra was playing very high bit music and the songs very mostly jolly no body moved and no body clapped their hands, really. The boys wore orange shirts and the ladies wore a black clock and organ scar.

This concert took place here, in Tehran.

The salon was one of the largest I have been to in Tehran, but bear in mind that I have stopped going anywhere much outside my home for the past 20 years, except on very rare occasions. This time it was at the invitation of some traveling friends whom I had not seen for a long time.

The other things that surprised me were the fact that the singer not only apologized, very nicely, for the delay for the starting of their program that you had to forgive them all. But he also introduced all his songs and gave credits to the song writers and the music makers and the persons who arranged it by name as well some of people in Iranian Pop music scene who were in the salon. On one occasion he even mentioned the record company. This was of-course, besides the usual introduction of the band.

The audience, which mainly consisted of young men and women, somehow contained themselves and just listened to the high beat of the music, quietly and politely. Until the last two songs. Then, it started; they somehow lost control. They began to clap with the music, with a little apprehension at first, and for a short time they felt the music touching their souls.

The last time I was at a concert -- nearly five years ago -- the singer stopped performing the minute the audience started to clap. After a few more uncomfortable incidents, people stopped clapping altogether. And some left. Here, tonight, the singer and his band continued. Before his last song, he mentioned that clapping is "good physical activity" and helps the young "spend their energy".

I was not impressed by his singing nor much with his songs but I was truly impressed with how he and his backers handled this most natural of behaviors -- not only of young people but all people. I had tears rolling down my eye, thinking why our boys and girls have been -- and still are -- deprived of such a natural, healthy, means of self-expression. I join them and started to clap.

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