TEHRAN.(Iranart) –Hossein Hashempoor: Iran has never had so many female singers and musicians. Iranian parents are well aware of the ban on women singing, but send their daughters to singing or vocal classes from adolescence.
October, when I released the videos of "Blue Girl, String Girl, Setar Girl, Guitar Girl" which is the self-immolation of Sahar Khodayari, known as the Blue Girl, in protest of entering the Azadi Football Stadium, I warned of some restrictions for Iranian girls and women are more like a joke; For example, in Isfahan, girls are receiving music diploma in the official education system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but they are not allowed to play a musical instrument in the same city, or they go to university to get a bachelor's degree in music but are not allowed to give concerts. Some didn't like what I said but we will see the consequences later. These days, the ban on dominoes for women in 13 provinces of Iran has been sidelined due to the corona and the coma of holding concerts, but like any other wound, it burns and will not be forgotten. As a result, in recent months, the story of women singing and the banning of women's voices under various pretexts has once again been in the media, and that older wound has also opened:
Quote from the founder of the Islamic Revolution about female soloists in vocal
the first blow was dealt by the veteran politician Issa Kalantari, who is the current head of the Environment Organization, He previously served as a minister in various governments for twelve years and he must be fully aware of the sensitivities and know exactly what he is saying; "Imam Khomeini did not oppose female voice as a singer" he said in a video on May 4th. Mr. Kalantari the Minister of Agriculture in the seventies said: "Mr. Seyyed Mohammad Khatami was the Minister of Guidance, I was the servant of the Minister of Agriculture in the cabinet. He referred to Imam Khomeini's direct quotes to me that; Imam Khomeini instructed me, why do not you use women's singing? "Soloist, not group?" Kalantari continues that: Mr. Khatami (the Minister of Guidance at the time) said; Imam Khomeini told me such a thing twice, but I did not dare to execute it. Imam continued that "Not a woman who does not have a good voice but because of her appearance comes to sing and deliver to the people anything."
The response of Seyyed Mohammad Khatami
The interesting recollection of Mr. Issa Kalantari had a very wide reflection, It was enough to look in cyberspace and see how Iranian artists, especially female musicians shocked. What a pity that they lost 40 years of deprivation and removal only due to the strange compliments of the Minister of Guidance (at the time), There was a longing from the artists in social media profiles. But the day after the remembrance of the former minister and former president – Seyyed Mohammad Khatami – he gave an explanation. Of course, did not reflect the words of Mr. Kalantari, thus; the stone that supposed to fall into the pond felt, and once again the issue of female singers became the top title of news in Iran. Mr. Khatami denied his friend's recollection and the entire chapter, his response is as follows:
'The words of Dr. Issa Kalantari about women's singing, in which I was given a relationship, are baseless. Although I have no doubt about Mr. Kalantari's good faith, the mistake does not contradict his good faith. The point is that the esteemed director-general of Ershad in one of the provinces had asked from Imam about what is Sharia's law on female voices (and men are listening)? And Imam wrote that there is no problem if there is no corruption in it. Neither once nor twice didn't he say anything about whether or not to broadcast'.
Ali Jannati on the stock market again
This recollection and dialogues pushed Ali Jannati to have a reaction too. Jannati announced to the media on October 21, 2013: "According to the authorities, there is no problem if the voice of female singers in music does not cause corruption (in faith), and some authorities have such an opinion in this regard."
Homayoun and Abeer Nemeh duet
In the last days of June, a video of Homayoun Shajarian and Lebanese singer Abir Nemah singing was released, and again, the issue of women being deprived of singing became bolder than ever; The voice of protest went beyond the borders of Iran and many openly criticized the young Shajarian for not having something in common with Iranian female singers, etc. however, this volume of anger as a reaction to Homayoun was a little thought-provoking, Because this is not the first time an Iranian male musician has done this, Three years ago, summer 2017, Ali Ghamsari's "Sarmasti" music concert, sung by Alireza Ghorbani and Tunisian singer Darsaf Hamdani, was held in Nice, France, and it did not have such consequences; It is not unreasonable that numerous sociologists from the suppressed and accumulated anger of the Iranian society are warning which is growing more and more every day.
It seems that Mr. Homayoun Shajarian and Mr. Arash Goran's collaboration with the Lebanese singer was the international face of finding the song "Morgh Sahar" and this goal was ignored in the protests; other than this If Homayoun was to collaborate with an Iranian female singer, they would have to sing in harmony, and the female solo singing would have been marginalized; But angry female protesters did not even remember that two years ago, in the concert of 'Thirty', Homayoun had a live performance with Ms. "Delnia Aram" for many nights. In any case, the heartbroken voices of women who are passionate about singing, and some of whom were forced to leave their homeland to fulfill such a dream, were cherished and respected.
Kuwaitipour and Parichehr
Summer, however, began hotter than ever; Gholam Kuwaitipour, Famous eulogist and lamenter 'Mammad Naboudi Bebini' (You did not see Mohammad), The nostalgia for the liberation of Khorramshahr with 13-year-old Parichehr was released on Girl's Day to confront everyone with a seven-magnitude shock; Some women's rights advocates, as well as female musicians cheered for Haj Gholam Kuwaitipour, but the fundamentalist was ashamed of him and done many bad things to him in media as much as they could.
The ex-president said there is no legal problem with the female singer!
No one thought the issue of banning women from singing will soon become the headlines of the media again but soon at the level of the previous president, this issue returned to the fever of society. We Iranians are accustomed to seeing our officials take on the role of opposition when they are not in power or sitting on the sidelines, and talk about problems and shortcomings as if everyone is to blame except themselves. In this regard, July 10, In a musical dialogue, the previous president said with his well-known speech tactic: 'Women's voice has no legal problem'.
Many have attacked this interview, Many of the criticisms seem true, but few have pointed out that there is no record of a politician in office holding a seat on the Expediency Council today give an exclusive interview about music, Listen to and comment on a few pieces of music. Such a thing is strange, and some have the right to say that the election is near and the probably the spectrum of artists will come to the polls in the promised month of May is less than ever, and perhaps such a taboo-breaking entry is cheaper for the government. At the same time, no one remembers that Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the one who had tweets about Michael Jackson and the late American rapper Nipsi Hassel, which made many people shocked. The recurring question after this interview is still there: why politicians smell the election, they do remember the artists?! Why did they not even take a step in the eight years of their presidency to pursue and fulfill the demands of women - here female musicians and singers - and so on?
Singing in the shadows
Iranian families are well aware of the deprivation of Iranian women from singing, but they send their daughters to singing classes from adolescence; just look at music schools and see that the number of female students is not less if it is not more than male students. It is certainly based on the recognition of such potential and enthusiasm that the French company ADMP invites 34 Iranian female singers to record and publish a selection of classical Iranian songs today.
Matching female singers with male musicians
Repeated comments and speculations about women's voices have broken the taboo of such an issue in the media, and some media outlets have repeatedly reflected the grievances of female singers who are depressed about the current situation and for the future. Their art has no motivation or hope anymore yet…
In the meantime, it seems that considering the consequences of Homayoun and Abir's collaboration, a practical and feasible suggestion for these days is for well-known Iranian male singers to sing along with girls and women who have a worthy place in music. After the corona and the return of the concerts, it can contain pieces of male and female singers so that later the elders can find a solution for this long-standing pain. Of course, this offer is not new, Brilliant collaborations have already been formed between male and female singers, which are immortal in the minds of artists, such as "Mastan Salamat Mikonand" by Bijan Kamkar with Najmeh Tajaddad and Poopak Ebrahimpour, which was produced in 2002. Or a local music album with Massoud and Shiva Jahed, or dozens of other examples that have happened all these years.
Perhaps the continuation of such collaborations these days is more than ever the need of the famous music community, especially since Iran has never had such a large number of female singers and musicians.