A newly released album, a prelude to female solo songs in Iran

Noushin Tafi

Javan, a principlist daily, criticizes the release of a female-male duet as a prelude to solo female singing.

Javan daily, the mouthpiece of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, on January 31 featured a report on the release of a somewhat unique album in Iran’s traditional music market, saying the album in which the [sonorous] voice of a female singer is dominant is a prelude to breaking religious taboos surrounding solo female performances.

The following is a partial translation of the principlist daily’s take on the album which holds a permit from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance:

You Ancient Land, I Love Thee (To Ra Ey Kohan Boom O Bar Doost Daram), an album by Nooshin Tafi and Mohsen Karamati [singer and trainer of the vocal radif of Persian classical music], has been unveiled in a ceremony [in Tehran].

It came after Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati said females can sing solo. The new album in which a woman’s commanding voice is noticeable has brought the Culture Ministry one step closer to making what its boss Ali Jannati had said a reality.

Nooshin TaefiAlthough duets or trios in which female and male singers perform together date back to before Jannati took charge of the ministry, what distinguishes You Ancient Land, I Love Thee from other records is the fact that the vocal range of the female singer has been highlighted both in performing and in news on the newly released album. Certain media outlets have even gone further, introducing the album through its female singer.

Nooshin Tafi is a traditional vocalist whose solo pieces had earlier found their way to the market. In this album, which is her first official work, Tafi performs duet with Mohsen Karamati, her trainer.

[…]

In the ceremony, Karamati took aim at a ban on women’s singing and said, “We all get familiar with music through the voice of a woman who sings lullabies for us and that woman is none other than our mom. Let’s treat all ladies as our own mothers and let their voices be heard, literally.”

[…]

Javan concludes its report by highlighting the contradiction of what the eleventh government’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has allowed with religious decrees [unanimously dismissing solo female performances as religiously forbidden].


On Saturday the spokesman of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance said the album in question is not solo performance. 

Hossein Noushabadi said the album has been approved for release after careful examination and that allegations otherwise are not simply true.
He added in the past similar albums have received the green-light from the ministry and the content is not against regulations.
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Emad Askarieh has worked as a journalist since 2002. The main focus of his work is foreign policy and world diplomacy. He started his career at Iran Front Page Media Group, and is currently serving as the World Editor and the Vice-President for Executive Affairs at the Iran Front Page (IFP) news website.

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