Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Support our "BobDylan & LeonardCohen & Marylin Manson" in one: Mohsen Namjoo

You can start by buying his outstanding album, with which he has subjected himself to eternal exile from the Islamic Republic of Iran; with which he has broken almost any cultural & musical rule ever practices in Iran; with which your goose bumps turn to goose mountains, your jaw drops, and you are left breathless with the courage of his genius. Although extremely avant-garde, Namjoo is well trained in Persian traditional music and literature--elements which he mixes with rock, jazz, blues and some other new stuff which I don't have a name or description for.

Making his album a best-seller will be a GREAT slap to IRI's ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance who thinks by alienating our artists and forcing them to exile, they can get rid of them by "throwing the fish out of the water."

My favorite tracks are: 5, 6 and 8. I love the rest too, but they are in the tradition of his previous outstanding work; that for me reached the summit of success in Toranj.

This costs only 3 Starbuck cups of coffee--and it is for a great cause! (If you buy his songs, let me know and I will try to translate them for you.)


Anonymous said...


I'm from Germany bur actually I'm in Iran doing my thesis. I got the album via amazon and would be thankful for any translation. I could help with the spanish parts in song no. 7.

Pedestrian said...

I bought 3!

The extra two will make great gifts.
I'm not a super big Namjoo fan. I mean, I like his work, but not too much. But like you said, this goes beyond liking or disliking ... this is for a cause. It's personal.

Naj said...

Ped; great! Which ones did you buy?

On this web site you can find the persian/spanicsh lyrics

It's A Rumi poem; this one (he sings parts of it) and he ends the song with a bit of Shamlu's poem. Now, I do NOT DARE translate either of these icons!

ای یا من ای یار من ای یار بـــــــی زنهــــــار من
ای دلبـــر و دلدار من ای محـــــرم و غمخوار من
ای در زمین ما را قمر ای نیم شب مــا را سحــــر
ای در خطر ما را سپـــــر ای ابر شکر بـــار مـن
خوش می روی درجان من خوش میکنی درمان من
ای دین و ای ایمان من ای بحر گوهــــــر دار مــن
ای شب روان را مشعله ای بی دلان را سلسلــــــه
ای قبله هر قافله ای قافلـــــــه ســــالار مــــــــــن
هم رهزنی هم ره بری هم ماهی و هـــــم مشـتـری
هم این سری هم آن سری هــــم گنج و استظ مــــن
چون یوسف پیغامبری آیی کــــه خواهم مشتــــری
تا آتشی اندرزنی در مصـــر و در بـــــازار مــــن
هم موسی بر طور من عیسی هر رنجـــــــور مــن
هم نور نور نور من هــــــم احمـــد مختـــــار مــن
هم مونس زندان من هــــم دولت خنـــــدان مـــــــن
والله که صد چنــــدان من بگذشته از بسیـــــار مـن
گویی مرا برجه بگو گویم چـــه گویم پیش تــــــــو
گویی بیـــا حجت مجـــــوای بنـــده طـــــرار مــن
گویم که گنجی شایگان گـــوید بلی نـــــی رایگــان
جان خـــواهم وانگه چه جان گویم سبک کن بارمن
گر گنج خـــواهی سر بنه ور عشق خواهی جان بده
در صف درآ واپس مجـــــه ای حیــدر کــرار مــن
(source: http://www.mowlana.org/Pages/literature/ghazalview.asp?no=1427)

You can look for translations if you have a Rumi book; I don't have one in english; but this one is a Ghazal, is starts with

Ey Yar-e Man (Ey, friend of mine)
Ey Yar-e man
Ey Yar-e Bi Zenhare man (Ey, safe friend of mine--"zenhaar" means warning, something that connotes jeopardization of safety)
Ey Delbar o Deldare man (Ey seducer and sympathizer of mine--delbar means someone who steals your heart; someone you are in love with. deldaar means someone who keeps your heart, who understands you)

No ... i cannot translate this, it will be very presumptuous of me. But i hope i have given you enough links to follow up.

Thanks for the challenge.

Naj said...

Re zenhaar
Bi means without

bi pzenhar means something like "fierce" but in this context, "I" believe it means a friend who is without "risk" without "zenhaar"

( Bragging: I used to be the champion of persian poetry interpretation in highschool--no one topped my marks in that--it was AAAAGES ago ... how i have forgotten it all ... )

Naj said...

Bi-Zenhaar = fearless!

The husband (who is more educated than me in Persian poetry) corrected me--but I wasn't far off, and I like my interpretation better :))

Anonymous said...

Hi naj,

BiZenhar in here means: "Dalir, Bibaak". Yar-e bizenhar is a lover who expresses his/her love without any fear and/or consideration for anything or anybody.

V >>>

Naj said...

Comme moi?! ;)

peace to you too >>>

Anonymous said...

Iran questions $18.5B treasure transfer?


Anonymous said...

Speculations about the foreign currency flow to Turkey have increased. Recently, there is a claim that chunks of gold were brought from Iran. While the government and bureaucracy denied the existence of chunks of gold, they can not explain unregistered foreing currency.

Parvati said...

I'm very much in favour of a Namjoo lyrics+translations project complete with website - multilingual please! and I volunteer to translate the English versions into Italian - via email parvati_roma at yahoo.it :-)

Only Namjoo song I'm aware of that has an online English version is Zolf Bar Baad on YouTube - beautiful Hafez poem with equally beautiful vid. - translation kindly provided by uploader (click "more" in the box in the upper right-hand corner for full text).

There's a good English translation of Cielito Lindo on wikipedia - and here's a lovely vid. of Namjoo + Golshifteh performing it live in Milan on Oct. 8th. - he's already much-venerated on the European music-festivals circuit so I think at this point a texts + translations website is a MUST!

Naj said...


Translating Namjoo is in fact very difficult. I think it is maybe more important to first get a handle of his music.

His lyrics are often collages of other's poems, he mixes old and new and adds to them, but contextualizes them very "locally", the subtlety will be lost in translation, and educating someone who has not grown-up with those poems subconsciously, translation will only make them cumbersome.

This is why I referenced Rumi. Rumi, however is only "part" of what he sings, most of the rest of his song is about making music with his vocal cord and the instruments he plays.

Can you imagine translating any of Beatles' Hallucinogenic songs to Italian or French? :)

Parvati said...

"Can you imagine translating any of Beatles' Hallucinogenic songs to Italian or French? "

Yes - some come out quite well, others less so, but far better for non-English-speaking fans to have at least a vague idea of what the song is "about" (lit. trans. + footnotes) than be left totally "in the dark". You have no idea how frustrating it can be to hear someone with a fascinating voice sing a very musically-intense song with no orientation-idea of the content/context of the lyrics! So when the Beatles first hit Italy, Italian kids used to swap approximate translations at school. And my daughter - who speaks only Italian, has so-so reading knowledge of English - is always calling on me to check her attempts at translating her favorite songs by English-speaking bands.

Here's an experiment for you - two of the loveliest songs by Italy's great jazzman-songwriter-poet Paolo Conte - Max and Alle prese con una verde milonga.. If you can listen to them without dying of curiosity to know what the words he's singing are "about", you win! ... but if you can't, I'll give you a quick approx-translation to relieve your frustration. Let me know how you get on... ;-).

Naj said...

Hmm I listen to a lot of songs without having a clue what they say. I listen to a lot of English, French & Persian songs without a clue (or attention to) what they say :)

I like the uninterpretable art better--blame it on my post-structuralism ;)

Okey I tried my best with the first request from Germany. Now, what request do I have from Italy? Send it my way and I will give it a go :)

Parvati said...

OK here's my No. 1 acute-frustration request: at least a quick summary of the words he's singing in "Jabr-e Joghrafiayi" - please??

I more-or-less understand what "geographic determinism" means both in historic and in present-day geopolitical terms so can perceive the title's aura of tragic irony "in context"... but...?

Naj said...

Okey this is a good one. I will translate it.

هزاردستان چمن said...

I just bought his new album from amazon. Thanks for posting this Naj.

Naj said...

For Parvati:

One day, you wake up and you find yourself wasted
No one is around you, you have forgotten everyone
A few more gray hairs on you the wanderer man
Your birthday party's again like a funeral
You're completely exasperated
Your hunch's larger and your shoulders have fallen more
look around you,
dry and wet burn together (3)

This's why they call being born in Asia geographic determinism
because you are in daily limbo, your breakfast is cigarette and tea
(repeats this several times times, as it fades into the background and the following slowly comes to the foreground of the song:)

You divine highness, then what's in your head?
When are you going to do something for us? (and then repeats this too)

Minute 3; starts from the beginning.

Minute 4: complete shift; as if a new chhapter starts

That they put your hand on your head; put
That they ignore you; ignore
That they don't let you in their game; let (this reiterates recursive on itself--very nice)
That they tease you; tease

That's why they call being born in Asia geographic deteminism (repat)

Inkeh Zaadehye Aasiayee ro migan jabr-e joghrafiyaayi
Inkeh leng dar havayee, sobhoonat shodeh sigar o chaayee

Parvati said...

THANKS! :-) It's extremely evocative, touches me deeply.

Only question- "dry and wet burn together" : a quote, an evocation, a saying??

Naj said...

Parvati, you're welcome!

this is from a proverb:

"atash ke gereft, khoshk o tar misoozad"
Awtash = Fire
ke = that
Gereft = would catch
Khoshk = Dry
o = And
Tar = wet
Misoozad = burns

It implies, when destruction falls, it is not just the bad things that are gotten rid of. For example: the war in Iraq ...

Anonymous said...

you know if you are going to offer to translate, you should rather than making up excuses while bragging about how good you were at poetry in high school..or was that just ta'rof?

Naj said...

anonymous; what is your problem exactly? suffering which bouts of your disorders at this moment? ;)

Anonymous said...

not suffering anything, was googling for mohsen translations and came across your ridiculous blog... i find it ironic that it is because of tactics like yours that iran is in such a sorry state..empty promises and then avoiding valid statements or questions by bringing up unrelated questions with a smile... i can think of a certain president who is an expert at that tactic

Anonymous said...

with your bilingual ability, you could have provided some translations that even if not perfect would have extended the reach of mohsen's messages and provided a lot more contribution to the world than spreading uncorroborated rumors about things like the number of rings iran’s supreme leader owns

Naj said...

anonymous; stop being ridiculous dude. Read the comments and you will find the translation!

If you cannot read persian, you may go screw yourself instead of commenting on Iranian problems. If you CAN read Persian, then roll up your sleeves and translate instead of nagging!