Young Iranians, with their fondness for Western music, are not the natural market for the country’s leading classical Persian musician, Mohammad Reza Shajarian.
But his latest album has caused a stir among the Iranian online community, with web users urging others to attend Mr Shajarian’s concerts and to buy his album, in an apparent bid to defy the authorities.
Often referred to as Ostad Shajarian (Master Shajarian), the musician has become a focal point for those still unhappy about the disputed presidential election earlier this year.
His new-found following stems from the fact that he objected to the use of his songs to celebrate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election as president.
Now online support is growing for his album Rendan-e Mast (Drunken Libertines), which he released on 29 August before embarking on a European tour of Germany, Sweden, France and the Netherlands, set to begin on 4 September.
The words “rend” (libertine or rogue) and “mast” (drunk or intoxicated) have positive connotations in classical – especially mystic Sufi – Persian poetry.
The symbolism in the verse has a powerful impact on many Iranians, frequently leading to emotional reactions from audiences, who often shed tears when listening to classical music with its poetic lyrics.
Moreover, the lyrics resonate strongly with Iranians as many Sufi poets scorned what they believed were the orthodox clerics’ obsess… >>>