Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jazz Mirrors Iran

Happy Nowruz to Iranian Readers! Peace to you!

Iran-- sometimes known as Persia, with an echo of 1001 Nights and dreamy cities of wine and poetry. As a name, a real place or an imaginary land from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, to the media propaganda of the recent months about nuclear developments, sanctions and military action, it remains a country held victim to misrepresentation and lazy awareness.

It is very much the same ignorance that for centuries silenced African-American artists and communities, who developed jazz as the art form to revise the human condition and to remove the barriers between “us” and “them” in a democratic language that knew no boundaries. Jazz, as the art that fights against various types of segregation, could be a myth itself. But the myth of jazz as something for all human beings, regardless of race, nationality, gender and age is so strong that it can still feed our desire to explore and to change.

In the coming weeks, I'll write about ten pieces of jazz music (specially designed to welcome the arrival of spring and Nowruz, Iranian New Year), presented on Aslan Media, about or influenced by Iran.

Each Monday for the next ten weeks will feature a jazz tune that reflects a part of Iran, both as an actual place on the map and as a pure fabrication of art. This is Iran, according to American artists in the 20th century. It is the same country that makes daily news headlines, but thanks to the masters of misinformation in the media, the more that is heard, the less that is learned.
I must point out a few facts in advance: 
a) There aren’t many songs about Iran in the history of recorded jazz. 
b) Most of the time, Iran’s real share of the tune is only the title, but even then, the idea of Iran as an “imagined” place could be a good starting point for our discussion. 
c) Finding the information about the circumstances these tunes are composed and recorded is usually very difficult, or impossible. This vagueness naturally gives space to a freer interpretation.

Let’s open our ears to the more truthful stories jazz is going to tell about Iran.
The first tune, and the first article, Teheran, is here.

No comments:

Post a Comment