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60 ‘arrested’ at illegal Iran concert

A musician who is trying to enter Australia claims to have fled Iran after 60 of his friends were arrested at an unauthorised concert.

The musician, whose identity has been withheld, said that several music teachers were among those dragged off to jail. He wrote a letter to The Age newspaper, seeking its help in securing admission. He is being held in an offshore asylum seekers’ pen on Manus Island.

His genre is heavy metal, but the Mullah restrictions in Iran apply to all forms of music.

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  1. Frances (Australia) says:

    Well now we know it for sure, Music is definitely subversive! Good luck with getting asylum in Australia under Miss Julia Gillard. He would probably have to first prove he would vote Labor before getting a VISA!

  2. Neil van der Linden says:

    To this story I can add that yes some forms of pop culture are forbidden singer. I know a young woman Iranian singer who sings triphop and she did concerts in public in Iran and she and her bandmembers were arrested for it because they did not have permission, which they would not have gotten anywy, as it is forbidden for female singers to perform solo in front of a mixed audience in public, and as she was not planning to wear a headscarf. But I also attended an ‘official’ heavy-metal concert a few years ago at the Teheran University campus, on Thursday evening, next to the place where Rafsanjani, the former president, was going to lead the Friday prayers the next morning. Times have changed, now members of the Rafsanjani family are in jail. But still one could not say that the Mullah restrictions in Iran apply to all forms of music. Chris de Burgh, not the wildest artist around, had a concert two years ago with Aran, the sort of Abba of Iran, with indeed two male and two female members. And recently there were some discussions here about the Teheran Symphony Orchestra, which just exists. At the moment I am preparing the performances in Teheran and Shiraz in the national Fajr music festival for renowned Dutch pianist, who will perform parts from Les Heures Persanes by Charles Koechlin, music by Arvo Parth (both of which he recorded so well for Naxox), Skriabin and music by Alireza Mashayekhi, an Iranian composer who once studied at the Dutch Gaudeamus Institute and who leads the Irananian Ensemble for Contemporary Music. Among other peices by the composer Ralph will play a piece for two piano’s along with an Iranian pianist, Aida. The foreign section of the festival is led by Ramin Sadighi, owner of Hermes Records, which is a label for mostly contemporary crossover music with close ties with ECM records. Sadighi each year has a choice of ECM artists over, who perform with a lot of success. By the way apart from indeed some really advanced contemporary music releases Hermes Records also had a Grammy Nomination album out, a cooperation between the Iranian master tar player Hossein Alizadeh and Armenian duduk player Djivan Gasparian. So the facts on the ground give a very diverse picture.
    Admittedly, that metal concert attended experienced many restrictions, like it was not permitted to sing metal and the audience was obliged to remain seated. And it was six years ago. But still the picture is mixed. It is not that music is not allowed.
    Free expression is a different thing.

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