He's not Shahram
My experience with Dariush
August 3, 2004
I was invited to attend
Dariush's concert in Los Angeles last month. Despite my love for
Iran and its culture, I had never liked nor learned to appreciate
I always found them quite depressing and repetitive. I realize
my knowledge is limited and my stubbornness had kept me away from
Persian music and musicians of the past and the present.So did
I want to attend Dariush's concert? Absolutely not!
perfectly frank, I had no idea who Dariush even was. For the
past few days before the concert I kept hearing his name everywhere
and the only famous Dariush I did know was the Persian King.
worse is until the day before his concert, I kept mistaking
his name with Shahram and once Sattar.
You see I was born in Iran and raised in San Francisco
with a European education and culture. Even while in Iran we never
music at home. There was always classical music in the house and
from time to time Sinatra, Iglesias and a few other "sappy
romantics" as they were my mother's favorites.
two older brothers so my first music experience were Pink Floyd
and Deep Purple. Of course I went through the disco era as
well. In fact the day I received my set of drums on my birthday,
brother inaugurated it to the sounds of Deaf Leopard completely
kicking it and putting his foot through it. In the meantime my
second brother accompanying him with his latest tennis racket that
made the best guitar had turned it into mere pieces of wood and
string from the impact of the wall.
I must admit I was an accomplice
having joined their band. I had turned my tambourine to shreds.
Later, in my own teen years I was a follower of The Sex Pistols,
Clash, New Order, Depeche Mode and today
I still have not outgrown
So did I know Shahram? Absolutely not! He was not
exactly in the same caliber as the pistols! By no means do I
my music was better than someone else's. I actually believe
the concept of "To each their own". I also advocate
personal taste. My groups were just what I grew up with and
therefore used to.
After constant persuasions from my husband --
an ex concert pianist who is an expert interpreter of Beethoven
and Chopin -- I agreed
to go to the concert. After all, I would like to see Iranians
and learn more of my culture.
As we walked in late through the
hall, Shahram was already singing. We sat next to my husband's
family who had already been there since the start. I sat next
to my new aunt Shahrzad. We had excellent seats and could see
the stage, the artist as well as our surroundings.
full and loud. People were dancing, singing, clapping --
to show their joy. I actually could not hear the lyrics from
Shahram himself, though his followers knew them well. So far
it was like
any other pop concert.
As I looked closer at the audiences
I noticed something that is quite typical of our culture.
I have to say that
the Iranians at the concert were impeccably dressed. They
looked as if they had just stepped off the runways of Paris
however as always they also have a fault. They are always
for the wrong occasion! Considering that this was a pop
concert and not the opening of the opera, many women were
dressed as they were Oscar nominated for the female lead! Harry
I sat in my seat quietly absorbing the
this man had over his fans. I looked over to Khaleh
Shahrzad seating to my right. I could only see her left cheek.
With the flashing lights on her
face, I could
see the wet, shiny shadows from her eyes to her chin. She had transcended
to her past.
I was seeing her, the teenager who grew up with
Shahram. She absolutely glowed. I couldn't imagine her being
else that night. I could see that her trip from Northern California
was a pilgrimage and she had to come. She had to be reminded
again just once more of that time long passed. I was more moved
passion and love at that moment.
I looked around to see other
people and noticed the same -- not just from the women but
the men as well.
It was beautiful! Khaleh Shahrzad was one of many. An entire
generation from her time who shared her memories. However this
did not end
There were people from all generations. There were
people much older than Khaleh Shahrzad and people as young as
who were not even born during Shahram's peak. Yet they were
just as loud singing and dancing along. Khaleh Shahrzad was
there with three of her sisters and her brother. All enjoyed
and Daii Shahrdad walked away with the sexiest coarse voice
I had ever heard!
I spent most of the night observing the
people and learning
about the artist through his fans' eyes and their hearts.
It was amazing to see the kind of power this man had
over the people. Who were these people and who was this man?
my eyes off the audience.
My eyes wondered from one row
next, from one man to another woman. Each wiping their
tears, loved ones holding them and still they could not stop
seeing the scene in a warped fast-forward and within
seconds, I found myself in tears. By no means was I emotional
reasons as Khaleh Shahrzad and everyone else there.
No, theirs was purely nostalgia.
Perhaps it was the memories of
their youth long
gone, passions for life free of worry at the time
and certainly the loss of their country -- Iran. Perhaps it was
again someone whom they grew up with and looking at
which no longer was as they remembered him. He now
with experience, pain and success of drug free. However,
his eyes, they saw him as they knew him and hence
It was love. It was a therapy session.
Shahram was magnificent. Simply being who he was
and what he had accomplished in his youth and gathering
he brought out their emotions or simply unleashed
what was there all along. With every beat or every beginning
reminded his fans of what song he was going to perform
next and then all I could hear was a roar. One loud
roar as all
had become one.
With the number of people in the
hall, the unity between the countrymen was strong. If that
Iranians can come together and be part of something
- anything, even a concert, well I wonder how did we
ever fall apart?
How did we loose Iran?
Why are we so attached to nostalgia and to our past?
Most of the time it only reminds us what once was and now no longer
essence how is that a good thing? So do we still prefer to be
reminded of then even if it pains us to remember today? Why is
it that as
human beings we cannot let go? Even as we proceed to our future
we still carry our pasts.
Yes I was in tears. I cried not because
of the memory I shared with him, but because a combination
of him and his fans pressed the button in me that reminded me
Iranian as well. And yes I love Iran and its people regardless
of the short time I lived there or how improper I speak the
language. After all since my return to Iran three years ago,
I have seen
more of Iran than any Iranian I have met.
As Shahram carried
the pre-revolution Iranian flag on stage, even I appreciated
being included in this ceremony, this reunion. Attending
the concert showed me another side of our people and our culture
that I had
never been introduced to. So do I know who Shahram is now?
Maybe not yet, but at the very least I have an idea now what
to his fans.
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