08 April 2010

Mohamad Reza Shajarian to tour Australia

Mohamad Reza Shajarian, born 23 September 1940, is recognised as a contemporary master of Persian classical music, nationally and internationally acclaimed for his singing and his composition. In 1999 he received a UNESCO Picasso award.

Shajarian studied singing at the age of five under the supervision of his father, and at the age of twelve, he began studying the traditional classical repertoire known as the Radif. He started his singing career in 1959 at Radio Khorasan, rising to prominence in the 1960s with his distinct style of singing. Since then his career has included teaching at Tehran University's Department of Fine Arts, working at National Radio and Television, researching Iranian music, and making numerous recordings.

He is also a man of considerable courage. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the protestors against his theft of the June 2009 election “dust and trash”, Shajarian said to the BBC Persian program in a telephone interview that he was the voice of dust and trash.  He also told the State broadcaster to stop broadcasting his songs, saying that his famous song “Iran, the land of hope” had nothing to do with the current situation of his country.

The good news for Australian readers is that Shajarian is about to commence a tour here, accompanied by 16 musicians of the Shahnaz Ensemble, led by Magid Derakhshani. His Australian itinerary is:

- Perth (Octagon Theatre) 30 April
- Melbourne (Dallas Brooks Centre) 1 May
- Brisbane (Conservatorium Brisbane University) 9 May
- Sydney (Enmore Theatre) 16 May

Tickets may be purchased online from the tour website here.

There is plenty of his music available on iTunes – simply enter Shajarian in the search box. I took the plunge and bought Shajarian Golden Songs – about 3 ½ hours of music for $44.99. There are plenty of albums of standard length for prices ranging from $13.99 to $16.99, and as always single tracks can be purchased.

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