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MP3 Mohsen Namjoo - Jabr

Iranian alternative music (new), a new style of interpretation of iranian traditional music by mohsen namjoo, combined with other music styles such as rock, blues, alternative music.

8 MP3 Songs in this album (44:53) !
Related styles: ROCK: Experimental Rock, WORLD: Persian traditional

People who are interested in Bob Dylan should consider this download.

NEW YROK TIMES wrote about Mohsen Namjoo on september 1st, 2007

Iran’s Dylan on the Lute, With Songs of Sly Protest

The Iranian singer Mohsen Namjoo is the most controversial figure in Persian music today.

HE plays the setar, a traditional Persian lute, and is a master of classical Persian literature and poetry. But the sounds he draws from the instrument, along with his deep voice and his playful but subtly cutting lyrics about growing up in an Islamic state, have made Mohsen Namjoo the most controversial, and certainly the most daring, figure in Persian music today.
Some call him a genius, a sort of Bob Dylan of Iran, and say his satirical music accurately reflects the frustrations and disillusionment of young Iranians. His critics say his music makes a mockery of Persian classical and traditional music as he constantly blends it with Western jazz, blues and rock.
Mr. Namjoo, 31, is a singer, composer and musician, but most of all, his fans say, he is a great performer.
“I wanted to save Persian music,” he said in an interview at one of his studios in Tehran. “It does not belong to the present time and cannot satisfy the younger generation. The fact is that Persian music is very close to other styles, and it is possible to mix in other styles with a little shrewdness.”
His blending of Western and Persian music produces unexpected moments that jar the traditionalists but are thrilling to his fans, who are mostly young artists and intellectuals. His music sounds Persian, but the melodies take away the melancholy that often suffuses classical Persian music.
But it is Mr. Namjoo’s lyrics, his fans say, that make his music so important. He sings old Persian poetry, such as works by the 13th-century mystic poet Rumi or the 14th-century poet Hafiz, with its connotations of love and lust. But with his mastery of Persian literature, he is able to write his own lyrics into the accepted forms, adding layers of meaning.
“The first time I listened to his music, I found it unexpected,” said Mahsa Vahdat, a 33-year-old singer. “It started with a laugh for me and ended with a cry. His music and his lyrics express the bitter situation of my generation, and they represent the society we live in.”
In a popular song he sings, “One morning you wake up and realize that you are gone by the wind, there is no one around you and a few more of your hairs have gone gray, your birthday is a mourning ceremony again.”
After throwing in an unexpected Western melody, he goes on in a lower voice, saying, “that you are born in Asia is called the oppression of geography, you are up in the air and your breakfast has become tea and a cigarette.”
Atabak Elyassi, a musician and a professor of music at the Music College at Art University in Tehran, said there was protest and satire in Mr. Namjoo’s music. “In the meantime, it is very Iranian,” he said, “because he constantly points to issues that are about the lives of Iranians.”
MR. NAMJOO was raised in the religious city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran, where he started learning classical Persian music when he was 12.
As he grew older, he said, he listened to Western music and became interested in Jim Morrison, Eric Clapton and the Irish pop singer Chris de Burgh. He read philosophy and Persian literature, and developed a fondness for a strain of modern Persian poetry that stresses phonetics over the meanings of words.
But what changed his approach more than anything, he said, was his experience in the theater. When he was admitted to the University of Fine Art in 1994, he was told that he had to wait a year before starting classes. So he decided to pass the time studying theater.
“A musical instrument is a medium for a musician to play music,” he said. “So is the voice of a singer — it is like a medium to sing through it. But neither of them is involved in building relations with a living creature.
“But when I studied theater I learned to connect with my audience, and that was when my poems changed,” he said.
It is hard to gauge Mr. Namjoo’s popularity, for he has come of age in a time of intense pressure on Iranian music.
Most music was banned after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with only religious and revolutionary songs deemed appropriate. To this day, women are not allowed to sing. Over time the restrictions were eased, first on classical Iranian music and then, in the mid-1990s, on pop music. But after the election in 2005 of Iran’s current, conservative president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, music came under a cloud once again.
he authorities canceled a concert of rock and jazz music in Tehran in July. In August, more than 200 people who attended a private rock concert in Karaj, 30 miles west of Tehran, were arrested. The public prosecutor in Karaj, Ali Fallahi, called the concert “satanic,” local news agencies reported.
Mr. Namjoo himself has not yet been able to give a live, public performance,. But he is able to perform privately, his CDs are sold on the black market and, in an inexplicable twist, his songs are played on Iranian radio stations. As of early August, his manager said, 1.6 million people had heard his music on YouTube.
In July, he did receive an invitation to a government ceremony to sing a few songs in praise of Imam Ali, the martyred son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad and the man whom Shiite Muslims consider Muhammad’s legitimate successor. Yet, the room was filled with artists and musicians, rather than government officials.
BECAUSE of his cutting-edge style, Mr. Namjoo is under another kind of pressure. Most classical musicians are purists, insisting that the music not be altered in any fashion. They dismiss Mr. Namjoo’s music as absurd because of the way he has incorporated Western influences.
If you take Iranian classical music on one side, and Western music on the other, said one critic, Reza Ismailinia, who runs a small art gallery in Tehran, “then I think Mr. Namjoo’s music is like a caricature in between, or a kind of fantasy.”
But many disagree with Mr. Ismailinia.
“I think he will be remembered as a courageous artist who opened a window toward creating something new and for going beyond traditional barriers,” said Alireza Samiazar, the former director the Contemporary Museum of Art in Tehran. “I think his contribution to our music will be great.”
Undeterred by the critics, Mr. Namjoo says his next ambition is to study music abroad.
“I want to be challenged and get acquainted with Western music,” he said. “I was accepted too easily here.”
A note from Mohsen Namjoo:

It''s difficult to talk about oneself especially when it is easy to be misinterpreted and the misinterpretation can be widely spread through contemporary communication tools. In fact it seems that there is no one who wants to listen to you talking about yourself. We have also learned that the interpretations of the audience about one’s art work are not less valuable as than the intention of the author him/herself.

So, I make it short. I was born in year 1976 in Torbate-Jam and started to study Iranian classical traditional singing with Nassrollah Nasseh- Pour at the age of 12 and this process continued until I was 18. I was able to pursue higher education when I was accepted at Tehran University to study theatre and music. I decided to join the theatre course instead of waiting a year for the music course to begin. At that time I was ready and excited to learn, experiment and move forward. But it was not what I expected because I was disappointed by the teaching system at Tehran University. I had decided to study music instead because of my love for music. In the end I had to stop studying music because of my love for music.

Just like every musician, my dream was to find a place in the professional field of music. Finally and after years of catastrophe, it’s only been for a few years that music has become my ONLY profession. My works (over 100 pieces) are the result of nearly 18 years of engagement with music. The source of this music and poems is the immense Iranian culture and history. These pieces of music and lyrics refer to, and find their meanings from Iranian culture which consists of four hundred years of battle between modernity and tradition.

Whenever I''ve wanted to laugh at the contradictions in my society I use the laughter and playfulness of the blues scale and its singing style. I blend it with the Iranian scale and singing style. Then whenever I’ve wanted to cry and express my sadness I direct the Iranian singing style towards blues or find refuge in reciting poems. In one of my poems written in 2003 I say:

**Haft savare karand bar labe arvand, har yek bashad Nedaye az manaye man

har yek bashad sedayee az nanay man, sonnato tajdeed rahekhish nemoodand

oh, marde jan be lab reseede ra che namand...

As I said at the beginning talking about oneself is a difficult task, So I’m not sure at all if I’ve told you what I should.

**Seven horse riders, riding by the Arvand river, Each and every one of them are the melody of my time , Each and every one of them are the sound of my mum, Tradition and modernism showed their ways

iography of Mohsen Namjoo
Mohsen Namjoo was born in 1976 in a traditional Iranian family in Torbate-jam (a small city famous for it''s Dotar players), but he grew up in the city of Mashhad. His passion for music began in early childhood. At the age of twelve, and after the death of his father which effected him enormously, his elder sister and mother decided to send him to singing classes organized by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Mashhad. He began to study Iranian traditional singing and music reading/writing with Nassrolahe Nasseh-Pour.
At the same time he was also selected to study in a special school for gifted and talented children, but took music more seriously and contrary to the wishes of his family. Later on music took over his life. He persisted with singing for over six years and completed the repertoire of Iranian traditional singing with Mr. Nasseh-Pour and was his best student during this period. At the age of eighteen he decided to take the university entrance examination for the field of Art/Music. For this entrance examination he also needed to know how to play a musical instrument. He chose the Setar, an old Iranian instrument.
In 1994 he was offered a place to study Theatre at the University of Dramatic Arts in Tehran, and a place for Music at Tehran University. Mohsen took the place to study theatre first, as he was told the music course at Tehran University would begin a year later. Becoming familiar with drama and theatre affected him greatly and later he incorporated what he had learned in that short period to performing his music.
In 1995, he eventually joined the undergraduate music course at Tehran University, where he was a student of Mr. Alireza Mashayekhi, Dr. Azin Movahed and Dr. Khosro Molana. Mohsen also tought himself how to play the guitar and has learned much from listening to western singers and musicians such as Jim Morrison and Mark Knopfler. In Khorassan he took lessons from masters of Iranian folk music, such as Haj Ghorbane Soleimani and Alme Joghi.
Mohsen started recording some of his compostions solo and with two different bands in 2003 . He also writes poetry with a unique flaire. In his songs he sometimes uses his own satirical lyrics and blends them with the classical poetry of Hafez, Rumi or Saadi. His music and words are very emotional and, in his works, he creates an exceptional fusion between various styles from traditional Iranian to blues and rock .
Music Compositions
Mohsen has composed about 100 pieces of music, forty-five of which have been recorded. These works have been put together in five different albums. Some of these solo works have been recorded as raw material with the idea of being recorded with a band or orchestra in the future.

1991 - Recording: Improvising on Setar, an experimental album.

2003 - Baad o Buddah, recorded at studio Naderi.

2004 - Geographical destiny, recorded at studio Rahgozar.

2005 - Composition of few pieces including Gis ,Se-rahe Azari and others.

2005 - Recording of the album Toranj at studio Rahgozar

2006 - Recording of few tracks for another album, which is currently called: Damavand. This album includes solo such as Gis, Se-Rahe Azari and few others, Recorded by Saeed Ganji in a small villa in Damavand.

Live Performances
Mohsen has performed with his first band, Daf Daf, with whom he has worked for about four years. In 2002, after meeting the guitarist Abdi Behravanfar, they founded a rock band called Mud. Mohsen has also performed many of his own compositions solo with guitar and setar .


Setar souz, Solo concert at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad.
Three performances named : Vocalic Music Number 1, Vocalic Music Number 2, and Vocalic Music Number 3 at Talare Farabi of Tehran Art university .
Eastern singing performance with Daf Daf at Talare Farabi in Tehran Art University. Here he performed his compositions based on Khorassani melodies for the first time.

Performance with the rock band MUD in Mashhad. Here he put a pick up on his setar to adapt it for this rock concert.


Solo Performance at Ro Theatre in Rotterdam. This concert was part of Tehran Hotspot at Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Netherlands.
Between May to July: About fifteen solo concerts at: Tehran University, Sharif University and Museum of Imam Ali in Tehran (where attended by approximately 400 people) as well as a few small concerts in Tehran, Mashhad and Gorgan during this period.
July: Performance with Abdi Behravanfar at The Avant-garde Eastern Centre, Yerevan, Armenia,
Between September and November: Solo performances in various cities including Amsterdam (Bitterzoet), Utrecht, Venice, Rome (Academy of Fine Art ) and Paris (La Baline Balanche).

Summary of works as singer or composer for other projects

Composed music for three short films also for " Negar" a play directed by Amir Atashani, which was performed at Tehran City Theater.

Composed music for " Something like life" a play directed by Hossein Panahi.

Singer for the music track of the film: The Black Board directed by, Samira Makhmalbaf, composer Mohammad Reza Darvishi

Singer for the music track of the movie called: Tarkeshhaye Sorkh, directed by Ali Shah Hatami, Composer: Fardin Khalatbari

Composed music for Hofre, an animation by Vahid Nasseerian.

Composed music for Take Meklat, a play directed by Hosseine Khiani, performed at Tehran City Theatre. Also composed music for two animations directed by Vahid Nasserian Aghvam and Contract.

Composed music for many projects

Death of Death, directed by Fatima Yasrebi
In Three Seconds, directed by Hosseine Zeeyayi
-I Pray for Your Return, directed by Mohammad Sangoori, broadcasted from irib.
-Forgotten Positives, directed by Ali Atshani.
-I Must Go, I''m Late, Directed by Mohammad Aghebati.

-Composed the music for a docu/drama about prostitution, directed by Delaram Karkheyran.
-Singer of the title music of the fifteen part Torsh o Shirin TV series in Iran, directed by Reza Attaran.

Other activities
-In 1996 Mohsen started research on the relationship between Iranian music and different periods of poetry in Iran.
-In 1998 he presented two articles after his performances in Tehran and Mashhad: ‘A kind of modulation in Morassa-khani (a style of traditional Iranian singing)’ and ‘Relationship between Iranian music and linguistic poetry’
-In 2000 One of his articles was published in Mahour, seasonal magazine specialized in music.
-Between 2004-2006 he occasionally wrote for Tehran Avenue an Internet magazine as well as various other newspapers in Iran about music and related topics.
-In 2005 he took part as an actor in the film A Few Kilograms of Dates for the Funeral, directed by Saman Salour. This film has been screened in film festivals including Nantes 2006.

Mohsen Namjoo''s first album Toranj was released officially in Iran in September 2007 by Barbad Music.

Namjoo''s second album is "JABR" (geographical determinism) published by NEDAI RECORDS AUSTRIA, in europe and USA.

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