Back from the Brink – An Audio Portrait
Kouroush Yaghmaie brought psyche music to Iran. He lived his music from his teens to adulthood until banned from singing, he was forced to produce children’s songs under a pseudonym for 19 years. His new album ‘Back from the Brink’ comes as a double CD and book, the extensive and detailed text by Kouroush Yaghmaie himself. In it Yaghmaie describes how he used his guitar to sound like a sitar, how his fellow musicians fell out of performing and heartbreakingly, lost the gift of music. Six Pillars has created a bespoke audio piece with a voice narrating over the songs the words of the man who for so long could not speak out. First broadcast in May 2012.
Ebi is one of Iran’s most foremost pop singers from the 70s, although his music has been banned there for many years. Listening to his unique, warm baritone voice, to his stirring ballads, it’s amazing to think that over 40 years ago Ebi was already a well-established star with fans all over the world.
Ebi left Iran two years before the ’79 Islamic Revolution after recording six hit albums, and continued to work in the US. Later, he recorded another 13 albums and is still performing at sold-out concerts at prestigious venues around the world including the Sydney Opera House and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center.
In 2010 Ebi played his only UK concert for years at the Royal Albert Hall to help support the fight against Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We recorded an interview with the man himself while he was in London. The song below, Tasmim, critiques the Iranian elections of 2009. The video features two glass bowls, one filled with worms the other cockroaches as a suggestive metaphor.
This Torture Why should we tell you our love stories
when you spill them together like blood in the dirt?
Love is a pearl lost on the ocean floor,
…or a fire we can’t see,
but how does saying that
push us through the top of the head into
the light above the head?
Love is not
an iron pot, so this boiling energy
Soul, heart, self.
Beyond and within those
is one saying,
How long before
I’m free of this torture!
(by Hafez, C14th)
American director Robert Adanto visits the UK while making his new film. Pearls on the Ocean Floor is a documentary looking at Iranian women artists, born both before and after the revolution, inside and outside of Iran. The narrative is made up of images by the featured artists and other female Iranian artists, and the women speaking to the camera, which affords the film a certain honesty and directness.
The film is screening at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Russell Square with a panel discussion on March 7th 2011, 7-9pm, all welcome.
“History and geography are the basis of all the humanities.“
After falling in love with a map of Persia in Harrods, Dr Ala’i spent years researching the cartography of Iran and Persia before publishing two large volumes by Brill, on different maps of Persia from the 1400s to 1925.
Dr Ala’i was invited by Iran Heritage to give a talk in January 2011 on his extensively researched specialty, and Six Pillars interviewed him to find out more about this passion of his.
This is the whole interview, the first part of which was broadcast in January 2011 on Six Pillars to Persia, from the Resonance104.4Fm studios, London.
Prior to a talk arranged by Iran Heritage, the estimable Dr Alai discusses how phonetics, fashion, social hierarchies and myth enter the world Persian cartography. With perhaps the largest personal collection of Persian maps Dr Alai has published two immense volumes on the topic both of which have been included in Brills Handbook list for the Middle East.
His talk tonight: “Special Maps of Iran” in London, is free to attend at SOAS, University of London.
An interview with Shirley Elghanian from Magic of Persia.
Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize finalists exhibit in London this month, as do the artists involved in the Iran Unbowed exhibition which Magic of Persia have curated to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair.
With luminaries such as Abbas Kiarostami on board and Sheena Wagstaff chief curator of the Tate, Magic of Persia works to promote Iranian arts and culture outside of Iran.
This interview was broadcast live from the Resonance 104.4FM studios on October 5th 2009.
Famous for serving six balls at once on a professional court, under arm serves, and speciality shots including the ‘power shot through the legs’, ‘the lob through the legs’ and ‘the drop shot’ which bounces back over the net due to excessive backspin tennis impresario Mansour Bahrami is not to be matched. At the launch of his book he talks about his extraordinary rise to stardom via homelessness in France and the singularly harsh treatment he received as a child on the tennis courts in Iran.
BIBA (The British Iranian Business Association) organised the evening in Summer 08 as part of their public service programming. Fari Taydayon from The Energy Deployment Company and Bez Ghazian review the event at the Hilton where Bahrami was speaking.
The show features classical music played by Haydn Dickenson: piano imitates and transcends santoor in the ten minute piece ‘Tariq 1″ from the album ‘East’.
A studio visit by Director of the film company Storm Creation Ltd: Clive Collier. Grandson and great-grandson of two Iranian poet laureates under the Shah, Clive discusses his milestone work where he single-handedly put together Sanctuary the only documentary on Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance and his present project the release Eureka: The Mind of Edgar Allen Poe.
The show features some early work on the soundtracks to the Poe project, which capture both the Gothic complexities of Poe’s mind and the era in which he lived.
Clive is also technical editor of Showreel magazine, which we did not have time to cover. We hope he will return with translations of his forefather’s poetry, more stories and more work on Allen Poe which knowing Clive, will be insightful, intuitive and inspiring.
This show was recorded live at Resonancefm studios, London on Dec 10th 2008, and was produced and presented by Fari Bradley.
Six Pillars producer Fari Bradley interviews Dr Pari Esfandiari, the Editor-in-Chief of Irandokht. Entrepreneur business woman, Dr Esfandiari PhD, has built up a massive readership and a vital forum for Iranian women all over the world (dokhtar means daughter in Farsi). The site is an independent, non-partisan but politically engaged site that allows women to communicate and promote peace through understanding. It’s such a worthy cause that Irandokht is among 34 websites showcased by UNESCO.
Dr Esfandiari tells Fari about her recent article â€˜Sex in Iran’ which she wrote with co-writer Richard Buskin for Playboy Magazine. This telling article is about lifestyles in contemporary Iran and the extent of social problems that exist therein.
The basis of the article is the news that a well renowned actress of some esteem had either made with her ex-boyfriend or been body-doubled in a home made video tape involving copious of sex and nudity. The tape made a ridiculous amount of money on the black market and the poor girlâ€™s career and life hangs in the balance. Dr. Esfandiari explained that the popularity of the DVD reveals a society that is unsure of its own values. She points out the chauvinism that exists in Iranian culture, as most people sympathised with Madame X only after they saw her portrayed as a victim. The very idea of a woman enjoying sex is seems threatening.
The article also highlights the polarity and divides in society in general on this topic, with permissive and extremist views on womenâ€™s roles, illustrated by two completely polarized stories: a group of young girls fearing their families reaction were said to have committed group suicide after being featured on internet dancing with revealing cloths and bare hair, and reports of private parties where guests drink, socialize and couple off at the end of the evening.