An Iranian Song Resonates in Rochester


Earlier this month at The Little Theatre, WXXI Classical hosted a screening of the documentary “The Singing Revolution,” about the ways that Estonian singing culture and songs were part of preserving national identity and eventually restoring Estonian independence.

Another powerful example of solidarity through song has just recently come out of Iran. 25-year old songwriter Shervin Hajipour composed a litany of reasons for the current protests, into his song “Bayare” – which can translate from Farsi to English as “Because” or “For.”

Shervin was arrested and there were attempts to suppress the song, and he is still at risk, but his song has been shared, translated, and performed around the world.

In Rochester, this music has inspired new choreography from Katherine Serna, which will first be performed at RIT Tuesday morning at 11am, as part of a global series of rallies coordinated by Iranian Scholars for Liberty, with the theme of celebrating “Woman. Life. Freedom.”

Iranian-American poet and anthropologist Shahin Monshipour of the International Cultural and Arts Network (ICAN) in Rochester has been following the news from Iran, and the ways that this song has traveled around the world.

She and I spoke about the hope and the fear of following the current protests and crackdown and the ways that this song has inspired through its quietly revolutionary spirit. You can listen to our conversation in the audio link above, where she explains some of the context for the song, along with translations of its poetic lyrics




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