Sound, Only Sound Remains (2015)
For Amplified String Quartet, Children Choir and Tape
Performed by Kronos Quartet and San Francisco Girls Chorus
Featuring: Ouldooz Pouri and Mina Momeni
Contributors: Forough Farrokhzad, Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmei, Nazli Rahmanian, Tara Tiba, Roohangiz, Madam Lazaria
SFJAZZ, San Francisco
February 5, 2016
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran women are not allowed to sing publicly according to the Islamic code. Their voice have never been broadcasted on radio and television and they are not allowed to release any records. The only occasion that their voices can be heard is when they sing as background singers in the shadow of a male voice. The recording industry arrived in Iran in 1905 and since then, numerous records of female singers have been produced. As in recent centuries singing has been considered a not-so-prestigious act in Iran specially for women, the relationship between women and records have been stronger than their relationship with the stage.
The piece was produced following my announcement on Facebook inviting Iranian female singers to collaborate with me, Kronos Quartet and Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Numerous sound clips, mostly recorded on handheld devices, were sent to me which enabled me to immerse myself in a world, which as a man, I have never experienced. All those breathtaking and sensational audio clips from across the oceans brought a new life into our collaboration and they together formed the opening and the ending the piece. The piece is also based on a song performed by Loreta Hairapetian, a 1930's Armenian-Iranian singer and actor whose voice I found on a 1920-1940 Persian music compilation dedicated to female singers and was brought to life by two extremely young talented female singers based in Iran Ooldouz Pouri and Mina Momeni.
The opening text which translates to “Sound, only sound remains" in Farsi is by Forough Farrokhzad, arguably one of Iran's most influential female poets of the twentieth century, a controversial modernist and an iconoclast who died tragically in a car accident at the age of 32.
SF Classical Voice: Soung, Only Sound Remains to Blend Old, New Iranian Music at Kronos Festival
Design: Avideh Saadatpajouh
In the News:
SF Chronicle: Women sing out in face of ban
WSJ: Music That Blends the New and Unusual