08/03/2023Tehran-Based Kamancheh Virtuoso Saba Alizadeh Shares Gloomy New Video To Latest Single 'Clamour'

As we sit here on International Women's Day, peacefully sipping on a glass of 'çay', we can't help but realise that the fight for equal rights and women's rights in particular may seem universal, even though it's an entirely different one depending on the country you're living in and the traditional power structures you are bound to. Freedom and equality to this extent are relative. While here in Germany the most prominent current buzzwords on this nationwide holiday are 'gender pay gap' and 'equality of opportunities', the ongoing women-led fight against the authoritarian patriarchal regime in Iran, for instance, where laws and regulations are based on religious ideology rather than best practice, is something else to say the least.

Last Friday, Tehran-based electroacoustic artist, composer and kamancheh virtuoso Saba Alizadeh (whom you may remember from the Hamburg-based 30M imprint's brilliant 2021-released "This is Tehran?" compilation) unveiled an emotional new single "Nafir" (engl. 'Clamour') with a poignant companion video directed by visual artist Siavash Naghshbandi, an impressive artistic statement and a gloomy metaphor depicting life in Iran after five months of righteous political uprising, brave resistance and incessant struggle that sadly continues to be met by violence, brutal intimidation and cowardly, inhumane, fundamentalist revenge tactics. "Nafir" thus represents the piercing sound of this popular outcry for justice.

Alizadeh's instrument, the kamancheh, is commonly said to resemble the spectrum of the human voice, which is why he used it prominently in his latest composition to channel the clamour of those persecuted and tyrannised: "It's the voice of the shed tears and blood, [...] a metaphor for singing, for the gathered voices and cries of the oppressed, fighting against the darkness," he explains. “This section is based on the rhythms of T’azie (traditional religious mourning ceremonies during the Shia commemoration of Ashura) but at the same time resembles the sound of explosions (the sound that became the soundtrack of our lives in Iran for the past 5 months) and a respirator machine. It is at the same time a spray paint can that is writing slogans on walls or wiping them out. At some point in the piece the rhythm section crescendos and tries to distort and destroy the kamancheh melody but it is not able to,” he describes.

What remains is hope. Jin, jîyan, azadî! (engl. 'Woman, life, freedom')

Watch the video to "Nafir" below and lend an ear to Alizadeh's 2021-released album "I May Never See You Again" on 30M Records.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom