Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Benyamin; a pop singer from Iran


Those of you who know I have just returned from Iran, and those of you who are Iranians living abroad and who visit Iran not so very often, perhaps also know that one cannot rid oneself of Iran-blues that easily, no matter how great one's blessing in the wonderful first world may be.

I am still very nostalgic. I have been cooking Iranian food (which I rarely have time to do) and I have been on an all-Iranian-movie diet (Since I am in cinema business, I see everything, B-movies and masterworks alike. And speaking of masterwork, it has become imperative that someone write a paper like "Dariush Mehrjui, the "other" great master of Iranian Cinema", those of you who don't know him, investigate works like Cow, Mix, Banoo).

I am listening to random music that my itune's picking for me, and now it is playing "Benyamin". I don't know who Benyamin is, but I am loving this music because first, it is terribly energetic, and second, because this is what my 24 years old brother played in his car, when he raised the volume to what seemed to be infinity, and drove his car at speed of what seemed to be infinity, on the state of the art highways of that lovely city Tehran, which is infinitely beautiful, infinitely chaotic (crowded and polluted), and ever alive with the mischievous outbursts of people like my brother and I, taking a break from the habit of "intellectualism" into what my dear friend Dr. V may call "contrarianism".

Benyamin is singing:
chesham be rahe jadeha
piyadeha savareha
miraftan o miyoomadan
amma naboodan male ma

and I google him up:

Here's what strikes me in what Avaye Nakisa has to say:


... A couple of months ago some scattered songs surfaced on the internet from an artist by the name of Benyamin, who later showed himself to be Benyamin Bahadori! Given the man’s background as a Noheh/Rozeh-khaan and composer of music for recorded religious/moral anecdotes for children, it wasn’t totally a surprise that what characterised his style and sound was summed up by updated and revised versions of the traditional religious chants and hymns ... It should be mentioned that our music in general and the POP music in particular is not completely untouched and uninspired by the religio-cultural vein hidden and beating under the skin of our society. ... That’s how it manages to rub the right nerve and provoke passion and sentiments in many of Iranians regardless of their current geographical location and social background! ... Benyamin, however, has now released his official album entitled “85”, in which he has only included two of those previously available songs. Interesting enough ONLY those two that have been revised lyrically beyond recognition to a more romantic theme!


I tend to draw a lot of meaning from transmogrification of a "religious singer" to a pop singer. Listen to track9 of his album to see what I mean! And if anyone called Iranians fundamentalist, just play the music that's coming out of (not underground) Islamic Republic of Iran.

My favorite tracks are 1, 6 and 9! No they are not great works of art; but they resonate with the beat of the youth in Iran.

1 comment:

Lydia Cornell said...

I love his music. Thank you.