May 26, 2003
Ambassador for a Silenced Music
By MELINE TOUMANI
New York Times
May 25, 2003
It is the first week of spring, and the Bowery Poetry Club is packed
with young Iranians who have gathered for an evening of Persian
music and poetry. On a small stage surrounded by rough brick walls
and a cartoon-style backdrop of the New York skyline, Amir
Vahab takes the microphone and asks if there is anyone
present from the town of Shiraz. "Baleh" ("Yes,"
in Farsi), roars the crowd. "You know this one," Mr. Vahab
calls back. "Sing it with me."
Mr. Vahab picks up an eight-stringed chogur, nods to his ensemble
and begins playing "Mastom, Mastom" ("I'm Drunk,
I'm Drunk"), a Shirazi favorite. The audience joins in the
refrain, and although Mr. Vahab cheerfully insists that the song
is about "being intoxicated by love," there is something
incongruous about a roomful of Iranian-Americans chanting these
words, not just because alcohol is prohibited in their native country
but also because in Iran the concert itself might not be allowed
Sent by Dariush Kadivar
this page to your friends
Who's your Iranian of the day?