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Mr Rajabian creates classical compositions using local Iranian instruments, but his latest project contains something largely forbidden in Iran: the graceful movements of a female classical dancer. They have faced restrictions from authorities' countless times and cannot play their electronic music at any mix-gender festivals, as Ms Kafashan would face too much scrutiny as a female musician. Yet many Iranians felt dance was a part of their culture, she said, including dancing at weddings and private parties. The couple, who are both sound engineers, create their music from scratch using synthesisers and electronic beats. Live: 'I promise I'll fire you on the spot': Biden lays down marker as new administration sworn in, He'd already left town. The combination of cultural heritage with hip-hop, rap and rock music is typical of the (underground) music scene in Iran. This was also the case with the ShabShanbeha festival, which hasn’t been held since. “Everyone seems bent on putting obstacles in the other’s way, when we could all be climbing the steps together! The site completely removed all female (and some male) singers from their own album covers, leaving them completely empty. Despite working "really hard", she said their music still has no platform inside Iran. This clandestine scene is the subject of Bahman Ghobadi’s film, No One Knows About Persian Cats, released in 2009. The music is only stopped if someone wants to play the guitar or sing. Still, here I am; a dancer, a criminal.". "Instead, the country should show pride and support. Another incident in 2014 made headlines across the world when six Iranians were arrested for appearing in an "obscene" video dancing to Pharrell Williams' song Happy. "We're somehow anonymous in our country," she said. We give everything we have just to reach the surface, and then the real competition begins!” says Kharrazi. Ms Bandeh now lives with her husband and children outside of Iran, where she continues to perform and teach. "Persian dance connects me to the core of my soul, my culture and my people," she said. Warning, your message will only be displayed after it has been checked and approved. Each group member has to be approved, as does their music, their lyrics and their attire. The arrival of the internet has changed the game, making it possible to develop a degree of musical culture in the Islamic Republic. “Unfortunately, there are not many options for the musicians in the provinces. “If they lived in Iran, none of the international groups of today would have had the strength to carry on working, because the conditions here are so difficult. According to Kharrazi, it follows a cyclical pattern: eight years of reformists and there’s an opening in the world of cinema, theatre and music, then eight years of conservatives and there is another clamp down. Here’s what the recent crackdown in Iran can tell us about the regime’s approach to internet censorship and what comes next. The weathered manager also tells the story of an AtriA poster that had to be altered to appease the authorities: “The poster featured a guitar with a few flames coming out of it. Several of his songs have been rejected on this basis: “I once took a poem from the Mongol period and set it to music. But Biden's day was all about rejecting Trumpism, Live: Indoor mask-wearing lifted in Greater Brisbane after no new cases, Donald Trump has pardoned the ex-husband of a Fox News host as his last act before leaving office, 22yo Amanda wrote a powerful poem to read at Joe Biden's inauguration. Ms Bandeh spent six years teaching Persian classical dance both in Iran and abroad until, despite holding a permit, she was arrested last year. AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). Her workshop and home were raided, her belongings were confiscated and she was detained for one year. “Every time a rock or metal gig has been cancelled for crossing the red lines, at least 20 other gigs have been cancelled or banned afterwards,” he notes. Ultimately the goal is important.". But this fairy tale is so prevalent and omnipresent, because the stories of those who have actually lived there are yet to be told. "I feel it is my goal in life to express our history, our culture, our joys and our struggles through this beautiful art form.". Democracy and health: how citizen participation can also contribute to better health care. The songs of the best American rock, folk and blues bands are played over and over again. literature, music, film, and the arts—it made for dispiriting reading. Different departments within the Ershad are responsible for interpreting what fits and w… Share: As part of IMP and ASL19’s continuing coverage of media policy in Iran, musician Shahin Najafi sat down with ASL19 for an interview about music and censorship in Iran.. Shahin Najafi is an Iranian rap star that recently came out of hiding after the Islamic Republic of Iran placed a fatwa, or religious edict, with a bounty of $100,000 for his life. Censorship fears rise as Iran blocks access to top ... facilities banned in an attempt to impede "corrupting" foreign films and music. That same year, Iranian state TV broadcast apologies — which appeared to be filmed in prison — of several women, who were briefly detained for posting videos of themselves dancing on Instagram, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. “Headbanging is banned, even though it’s the DNA of heavy metal,” laments Kharrazzi. It's funny, but a big pain for us," Ms Kafasha told the ABC. The fight against censorship is an exercise in absurdity, a long, frustrating process of negotiation for the sake of negotiation, a futile wading into quicksand. – what happens when a grassroots, international creators’ movement and a traditional trade union join forces? "The judge told me I was charged with publishing a woman singing and a woman dancing in my latest project, which 'causes society to go into prostitution'," Mr Rajabian said. Back then, playing rock was like selling drugs, it was hidden, often played in cellars or garages. 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Iran has very strict censorship rules regarding women’s appearance, and which topics are permitted to be discussed openly. Many in the West equate Middle Eastern music with the folklore of "A Thousand and One Nights". Uyghur refugees speak out against genocide and crimes against humanity. A record shop in Tehran in 2005, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad banned all western music from Iranian airwaves. But Rajabian has been determined to defy the authorities’ efforts to intimidate him, repress his art, and silence women’s voices. Photograph: Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters T e h … With AtriA, she had the opportunity to take part in a concert abroad. A few months ago, the young man nevertheless obtained an authorisation from the Labour Ministry allowing him to issue a technical and professional diploma. MYTH: The Iranian government exercises strict control over the press and tightly censors the Internet and media, making communication with the outside world virtually nonexistent.This censorship makes it impossible for Iranians to publicly criticize the government or to obtain international news and perspectives on current events. "Music is our only weapon. Nevertheless, despite all the measures designed to stifle music, it could not be eliminated from … Today’s young people, who make up 70 per cent of the country’s population, are conscious of being the sacrificed generation, the ones whose entire lives are likely to be spent struggling for the next generation to have rights. "Persian dance runs through my veins and without it I might just as well not be there at all," she said. Anything cultural or artistic … Musicians therefore have to dedicate part of their courses to raising their students’ awareness about the importance of respecting each other’s work. "I have never expressed negative sentiments about our country anywhere. In Iran, if one band exceeds the limits, all the others pay the price. But for Ms Bandeh, dancing has been her lifelong passion and she has no intention of stopping. Such restrictions have pushed Iran's music and dance scenes underground. Partial or total internet blocking is becoming a regrettably common government response to protests or political upheaval, but the tactics used and the extent of the shutdowns vary. Female singer Negar Moazzam also received a prison sentence for performing solo in 2018, Mr Taheri told the ABC. It is a step forward, as Vaezi explains, because “you can’t choose the electric guitar or drums as your main instrument when you study music at university”. Chapter 8 is about music in Iran Shahkar Binesh-Pajouh is a lecturer with a doctorate in urban planning, who blends rap music with Persian classical poetry to condemn poverty, unemployment and other social issues. Between censorship and a burgeoning music scene, Iranian rockers are trying to keep to tempo. Joe Biden has been sworn into office. Censorship affects not just literature, music and film. Forbidden to perform in public, many female dancers in Iran use their social media accounts as a type of virtual stage. From left to right, Shirin Vaezi, Amir Kharrazi and Amir Shahab, from the group AtriA, after a re-hearsal in their private studio, on 15 September 2018 in Tehran. Musicians in Iran and the Iranian diaspora continue to grow and strengthen their networks online while end users in Iran continue to develop and harness the means to evade filters in order to create and experience underground music online. "We're not free to do what we want, and we always have to present ourselves in a really restricted frame.". Music has always been a target for censorship with many debates about appropriate use of language, religious references, violence, sexuality and civil rights being the main areas of contention. Composer Mehdi Rajabian has been dragged before an Iranian Revolutionary Court for the third time in his career under an obscure law that forbids "crimes against public moral". 'Every day is a day of suffering': Former inmates describe mock executions, beatings and psychological "torture" in the notorious prison where several Australians have been held. The report traces the gradual imposition of music censorship since 1978, when the communist government of Nur Ahmad Taraki came to power in a violent coup d’etat. Philosophy in music are bullets for our struggle. Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. The courses are designed in line with international teaching methods and can be taken online, which means that musicians living in the provinces can also follow them. From that moment on, all musicians, writers, artists and media makers needed permits that allowed them to publicly display their works. "We can't even dance while we're performing. It was only at the insistence of a mutual friend that I deigned to listen to their music and I was surprised at the quality of their work.”. In Iran, we don’t really have a team spirit,” regrets Shahab. ... On 30 January 2019, Iranian band Askair, performed a concert in Tehran. The government’s guidance is sacrosanct because it says so. Shahab also feels it is a shame that young musicians are not able to experience performing on stage more often: “Music schools allow us to organise concerts under the cover of their authorisations, but they are often so-called experimental concerts, in a small lounge, which only family and close friends can attend, and the acoustic conditions do not really allow us to replicate the real thing.”. There have been restrictions on women performing publicly in front of men who are not their immediate relatives since the Islamic revolution of 1979. He said he was interrogated and detained for several hours before his family paid for him to be released on bail ahead of his trial. In 2015, Mr Rajabian said he was again imprisoned, this time for two years during which he went on a hunger strike for 40 days. So this diploma may offer them some hope.”, For Iranian musicians, a great deal of staying power is needed to achieve their goal of performing on stage or making a name for themselves on the international scene: “We are at the bottom of the ocean. “It’s a profound source of sadness for me that neither my parents nor my country backed me, and that I have to go elsewhere to hear people cry out my name, to understand my true worth,” laments Shirin. Mina Kafashan is one part of Iranian techno duo Grey Wolves Noise. Once this hurdle is overcome, organising concerts is a whole other matter. Censorship begins inside the home," he told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in a recent interview. Groups that manage to have a concert authorised throw all their money into it, only to see it cancelled at the last minute for no good reason. Between censorship and a burgeoning music scene, Iranian rockers are trying to keep to tempo From left to right, Shirin Vaezi, Amir Kharrazi and Amir Shahab, from the group AtriA, after a re-hearsal in their private studio, on 15 September 2018 in Tehran. The young woman started taking drum lessons at the age of 20 and went on to become one of the few, if not the only, female drummers in Iran: “When I started working as a civil engineer, I didn’t have much time to rehearse and couldn’t play at home, so I used to drive to a friend’s place to practise there for half an hour. The movement was sparked after 17-year-old Maedeh Hojabri confessed to crimes on Iranian state TV when authorities clamped down on her Instagram account, where she had posted videos of herself dancing without a head covering. They instead launch their music on social media. "If you choose to be an independent artist and you value to be able to express yourself freely, you are on the wrong side of the fence. As with many other areas in Iran, music is linked to politics. YouTubers of the world, unite! A question of boundaries lays at the heart of music censorship, but artists have always pushed back, fighting for the freedom to express themselves. Print: Print article. Because of government restrictions and political issues, Ms Kafasha said there is no way to "show our art or make people familiar with what we do". As a result, I’d rather say I play pop music, to be more respected,” says the young woman. The Iranian embassy in Canberra, the Parliament of Iran and the Ministry of Justice did not respond to requests for comment. This tall, 36-year-old bearded man was drawn into the world of rock and metal when he was a teenager. But despite their hard work, they said they cannot break out into the larger electronic music scene because of restrictions. 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