Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mohammad Nouri: Another voice of a past we love, passes away ...

Mohammad Nouri (1929-2010) was the singer of my parent's generation. I heard him more because my aunt played and sang his songs on the guitar and a relative was said to have dated him in pre-revolutionary glory-days.

Nouri was one of the first "fusion" musicians of Iran: influenced by folk songs, and performing them in western style, as far as the vocals and the orchestra composition were concerned. His music is never categorized. He was not a pop singer, not a classical singer, nor a folk singer. His music was not traditional, but his melodies and lyrics were. There is something pulsatile in his music, short harmonics, low pitch, that brings it close to jazz but with 'oriental' rather than African beats. But his music also invokes memories of French singers Edith Piaf, Jacque Brel, and Charls Aznavour.

Nouri was educated in Iran in the Honarestan-e Aali Mousighi (High college of music, or Tehran Conservatoire, envisioned by Reza Khan Pahlavi and founded by the French Alfred Jean Baptist Lemair about 100 years ago). He studied music with several musicians such as Sirous Shahrdar, Fereydoun Farzaneh, Hossein Aslani, Naser Hosseini, Mohammad Sareer, Mostafa PourTorab. (Source)

In addition, he studied English literature and theater, he wrote (or performed) 300 songs, and translated and wrote music articles. He was modest, and not a businessman. For this reason, loved by foe and friends. The You Tube video I posted below, however, is his first on-stage performance with an orchestra, in 50 years of his career. (The concert is in Tehran.)

Nouri was spared the terror other pop singers suffered after revolution, because he was 'pious'. Five years ago, he was recognized as an icon of the Iranian music, by (the now-turned-infamous Iranian broadcaster) Seda O Seema. It is important to know, that Nouri died in poverty and after struggle with 1.5 years of illness. The IRI minister of Culture and Islamic guidance did offer help, but Nouri refused. (Source: Donyaye Eghtesad, 7 July, 2010, quoting The Artistic Deputy of the Minister of Culture and Islamic guidance.)

And he died, yesterday, in a hospital bed in Tehran, at home ...

All newspapers, from left and right, are acknowledging his passing in sadness (including the Ahmadinejadist propaganda machine, False-News)

There was a song that, when aunt Khorsheed sang, made me cry:

Ne-mi-she ghos-se ma-ro [is it possible that sadness]
ye lah-ze tan-ha be-za-reh? [leave us alone one day?]
Ne-mi-sheh in gha-fe-leh [Is it possible that this caravan]
ye-rooz ma-ro ja be-za-reh? [leave us behind one day?]

See? ... pulsatile ...

Rest in peace, lovely man. May one day, your genius and contribution to the Iranian modern music be discovered in a PhD thesis ...


nunya said...

Hi Naj,

Thanks for posting this. I may not understand what he is singing, but I can appreciate a professional accomplished performer. I kind of liked it.

Naj said...

Happy you liked it Nunya, dear.

Did you know that because of this one concert, that he was afforded in a lifetime, only once, there are some Iranians abroad who are calling him a "traitor"? "because otherwise, why would the IRI let him have a concert?"

But he is accomplished ... and he is professional ... it is very sad that in Iran, things become prominent only if they are explicitely political/politicized ... the impatience of a nation that doesn't recognize the mysterious ways in which art enlightens makes me very impatient :))

Naj said...

Nunya, the song is about "dear Maryam" (Nazanin-e Maryam); the song has northern (Gilaki) themes, although all lyrics are in persian ... it's time for harvest, and he is singing for her to come to harvest, and never leave him.

It's a love song ... for a woman
a summer song, a happy one ...

Pedestrian said...

Naj, maybe you saw this as well?
We were all devastated by the news. Truly and utterly devastated. He was such a genuine, kind and caring man (aside from his academic achievements).

Nemidoonam chera eentori shodeh ... Ahmadinejad really is a curse. The air in Iran has truly become poisoned. Literally and metaphorically.

Naj said...

Sorry Ped :(

It's true; Ahmadinejad is a curse. All the stress his ominous existence has created is just exacerbating all the illnesses people have been fighting.

But, I always feel good for people who die ... less pain, you know?

Pedestrian said...

Yes, I know. It's the people who are left behind to mourn that leave me heartbroken :'(