Sunday, April 01, 2007

For the right reasons

I talk a fair bit about music made for the right reasons. I can't find any better example than this Iranian band risking it all to play music -- literally!

Rock music has been officially deemed contrary to the Islamic republic’s moral code. In December 2005, the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, banned all Western music from state-run airwaves in a reversal of reforms made under his more liberal predecessor.

Elsewhere, outside of Iran, Raam pointed out, musicians enjoy freedom. “We’re jeopardizing our lives every show we play,” he said. “I guess there’s that adventurous side added to the process that gives it that extra rush, that makes it even more rewarding and exciting. It’s definitely worth it. Performing underground in Tehran is the best drug.”

Think it's tough to make a name for yourself in an overcrowded American music market? Well, Hypernova has more to worry about: performances "can lead to arrest, large fines and even a public flogging." But they persist, and with such a large youth population in Iran, he's hoping music can make a difference.

Raam said he saw rock as a force for social and political change in a country of 70 million people, where the median age is 25, access to satellite TV and the Internet is widespread and ineffectively censored, and the ideals of the Islamic revolution have less hold over a younger generation. Young people in Iran “just want to do things that normal kids do around the world,” Raam said. “They just want to listen to music, they want to dress nice, to party.”

Again: Music for the right reasons.

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