Friday, September 26, 2014

Kurdish Musician Lauded Globally, Silenced in Iran

TORONTO, Canada—Musician Hafez Nazeri’s bestselling debut album “Rumi Symphony Project: Untold” is receiving praise around the world, but Iran has cancelled his performance.
The New York-based Kurdish singer’s premiere, long anticipated in his home country of Iran, was called off after Tehran refused to issue visa for well-known international figures and musicians.
Combining eastern and western music, Nazeri collaborated with 38 musicians from diverse backgrounds to create “Untold,” which has topped the classical charts. The album was produced and distributed by Sony Classical. 
Deepak Chopra, Zakir Hussein, Paul Neubauer, James Bagwell, Thomas Lazarus and David Frost are among the instrumentalists who helped in the creation of “Untold” and require a visa to enter Iran.
Nazeri has also created a new version of the stringed instrument called setar. Photo: hafeznazeri.com
Nazeri has also created a new version of the stringed instrument called setar. Photo: hafeznazeri.com

The singer and composer’s debut album uses the universal language of music to promote peace and harmony in a world that desperately needs these two elements. Nazeri quotes the philosophical Iranian poet Rumi, who wrote, “We dance behind veils/ Muslim, Christian, Jew are the masks we wear/In Truth we are not here/This is our shadow dance.” 
Son of the Kurdish Maestro Shahram Nazeri, Nazeri speaks of his pride for his Kurdish heritage. He grew up in a literary and musically rich family long before beginning his formal education in music in America. 
Nazeri began his music training at the tender age of 2 and had his first global performance with his father at age 9. He has had sold-out performances across US, Canada and Europe and won a young composer award at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). 
Despite the album’s international acclaim, only 20 minutes of “Untold” was released in Iran under a different title, “Boode-Yazdahom” or the eleventh dimension. 
Nazeri has also created a new version of the stringed instrument called setar. It took him years of working with famous setar makers Majid and Saeed Safari to perfect the idea he had harbored for almost a decade. The new instrument, named “Hafez” after the musician, offers a wider range of possibilities for musicians and is used in his new album. 
His father, Shahram Nazeri, praised internationally as an innovative vocalist, has showcased his son’s music across the world using both Persian and Kurdish. He has collaborated with the renowned Kurdish family ensemble,Kamkaran. Recently, Shahram was also criticized in the Iranian media for singing in Kurdish.
When Nazeri’s concert was cancelled, Shahram stood in for his son. Shahram is a legendary musician, equally beloved among Kurds and Persian Iranians for his art, his compassion and his generosity. 
Speaking to Iranian media, Sharham stated that when Kurdish students died in a fire because of sub-standard heating systems in the village of Shinawa, he was inspired to devote an entire year of his income to people in need.


This article was originally published here: http://rudaw.net/english/culture/25092014

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