Music, Youth, and Me

I attended a Rock/Pop concert for the first time in my life. The band was Mother Mother who had recently won an award from CBC3 (I think). It was very different from all the other concerts I had attended: there was lighting (I mean designed lighting), lots of movement on stage, and lots and lots of sound. The sounds were occasionally melodic, mostly pulsating, and often very very loud. I couldn’t make out the lyrics because I could barely hear the singer. The band members were so young and energetic.

It was interesting for me because I am mostly used to Iranian traditional music with a few very sober looking musicians or vocalists sitting and performing. Or Western classical music where everyone looks so serious on stage. This was definitely different.

I came out of the concert with more than a new experience though: I also got the answer to my decade old question: where are the youth? I do see them at the University, but it is because they have to be there. Or they don’t get their degrees. Well, my long search ended that night. They were all there in the concert. It turned out I had been looking for the young people in all the wrong places: classical western or Iranian traditional concerts, arts-summits, writers festivals, … I hardly ever saw the youth in any of these events. I often thought, “why?”

And then I remembered that up to an age (I think 14), I hated traditional Iranian music. I found it very boring, and anyone who listened to it seemed utterly uninteresting to me. I loved the pulsating Pop music that felt so much close to the rhythm of my young heart. Until one summer afternoon, stepping into the terrace, I heard this magical voice singing:” Life without your eyes… [zendegi bi chashm-i tu, ranj o azaab…]. The garden following the terrace had just been watered; I could smell the scent of damp soil. The heat was easing off, and the flowers were waking up.

I couldn’t take a step further until the song ended. I made sure that I got the name of the singer (Shahidi). There and then I knew something had changed in me forever. An emotional bond had formed between me as a teenager and those in the past, who somehow succeeded in conveying their subtle yet strong message. That bond has lasted so far and grown stronger as time has gone by.

Well, I did get an answer to why the youth aren’t in traditional concerts. As for the writers’ festivals, arts-summits, … I am still wondering. Any ideas? 

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