Jazz and its Social Meanings in Iran: From Cultural Colonialism to the Universal

Nooshin, L. (2016). Jazz and its Social Meanings in Iran: From Cultural Colonialism to the Universal. In: P. Bohlman, P. Goffredo & T. Jackson (Eds.), Jazz Worlds/World Jazz. (pp. 125-149). USA: Chicago University Press. ISBN 9780226236032

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July 10, 2000. A hot summer evening. An excited crowd, mainly young people including many fashionable young women, heavily made up and wearing the latest “Tehran Chic,” wait outside the Ebn- e Sina Cultural Centre in Shahrak- e Qarb, a well- to- do neighborhood in west Tehran. The “jazz” concert by the band Imaj is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m., but at 7:15 p.m. the doors are still closed. Eventually, the doors are opened and the audience streams in to the small concert hall. The sense of anticipation is palpable; concerts like this don’t happen very often. As we enter the hall, we’re handed a concert program, and I notice that almost all of the pieces listed are cover versions of Western pop and rock songs, including numbers by Paul Simon, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney. Very little “jazz” seems to be on the program. The musicians walk onstage to an ecstatic reception. As the first piece starts— an instrumental version of John Lennon’s “Imagine”— Ayatollah Khomeini and the conservative Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei look down from their portraits above the stage, as they do in every public hall in Iran. Concert hall officials also keep watch from the side to make sure that order is maintained and no one tries to dance to the music.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music
Divisions: School of Arts > Department of Creative Practice & Enterprise - Centre for Music Studies
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/14069

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