The Voice of Iran: Mohammad Reza Shajarian Concert in New York City

Mohammad Reza ShajarianIn a rare U.S. appearance, the widely regarded master of traditional Persian singing and one of Iran’s most acclaimed vocalists and composers, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, performed in New York City on June 5, 2008.

Presented by the World Music Institute (WMI) with support from the Cultures of Resistance Network's Make Music Not War, the concert was part of Shajarian’s multi-city Canadian and U.S. tour through May/June 2008. He was accompanied by his son, Homayoun Shajarian, on vocals and tombak, while his band, the Ava Ensemble, played barbat (short-necked lute), tar (long-necked lute), kamancheh (spike fiddle), and percussion.

Since rising to prominence as a traditional singer in the 1960s, Shajarian has gone on to teach, compose, research the musical arts of Iran, and perform at prestigious venues around the world. In recent years, he’s been noted for melding tradition with modernity, composing and performing songs with messages of social and political change. Though not his first trip to the U.S., Shajarian’s June concert was historic for U.S. audiences in its representation of Iran’s rich cultural and musical traditions.

The concert supported the overall mission of the WMI, which strives through the concerts it presents to communicate to outsiders the unique power of individual cultures, allowing audiences to experience emotional and artistic expression that transcends national, ethnic, and religious boundaries.

More information about the June 5th Concert in New York City can be found here.

More information about the entire North American tour can be found here.

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