A Persian Amsterdammer Blogs.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Music News

I'm very excited about the following pieces of music news:

- My good friend Branko Galoic and his Skakavac Orkestar has finally released his new album. It will be available in places like the Mezrab soon. Already on his site you can have a small taste:

http://www.myspace.com/brankogaloic - Check out the new track with living guitar legend Vladko Stefanovski!

- Ibrahim Maalouf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim_Maalouf (nephew of one of my favorite writers Amin Maalouf) is a great trumpet player. He's maybe the only trumpet player to use oriental quarter-notes, played with a special trumpet designed by his father. There's 2 very diverse tracks on his myspace site:


Ibrahim plays Jazz, World Music, but also Classical, check out the following clips:

We are trying to get this man to come and play with us in Amsterdam at the end of summer. You'll be the first to know when we succeed!

Monday, 23 February 2009

The 30 Year Report

Interested in Politics and Human Rights? The human rights project of Radio Zamaneh "The 30 Year Report" is in full swing. Programmes are aired every day between 17.30 and 18.00 Amsterdam time. Articles appear here: http://www.radiozamaneh.com/humanr/

What is aired now and put on the website is in Persian. I'll let you know when the English site is up.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Inspiring Images

My life has been empty ever since the best internet comic in the world ( www.pbfcomics.com ) stopped updating. What is the internet if not a place for genius minds to toil away at new ideas not yet fit to be embraced by the mainstream?

Well, here's some new and exciting things in the world of online comics. First a scetch of an experiment, on the nature of online comics. It pretty much explains itself:

about DIGITAL COMICS by ~Balak01 on deviantART

And now, a comic that mixes cutesy manga girls with superheroes, philosophy, quantum-physics and ancient religions. Yes indeed.


Here's some of my favorites:


(Thanks Shintaro for pointing me to this one!)

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Teheran Photography

The idea is extremely simple. Pictures of Teheran appear on this blog every 24 hours. I like it!


Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The Return of Marx

I'm not sure if it's happening yet, or even whether I should be happy about it, but more and more people are convinced Marx is the come-back kid of the 21st century. It's funny how very few people are aware of the impact of Marx, Socialism and Communism in countries like Palestine in Iran. These are great and inspiring but also sad and dramatic narratives. At least the animation film Persepolis showed some non-Iranians that Iranian Marxists existed and were in fact an important segment of society.

Here's an interested multi-espisode essay on Marxism:


Also, have a browse around the site of my friend Mostafa, a talented Amsterdam based filmmaker:


I will add him to my link bar later, but in the mean time, click on his films, go to 2003 and watch "commercial/indra"

Monday, 16 February 2009

In Defence of Bloggers

Look at this! A great blog in defence of bloggers:


The site is filled with links to like-minded blogs and has excellent resources.

In other news: the Dutch Volkskrant magazine will publish a short review tomorrow (Tuesday) of my current musical project. If the text appears online I will post a link to it on my blog.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

First Female Saudi Cabinet Member

Here's something to rejoice about: according to this CNN article the Saudi king appointed the first female cabinet member. The news is quite fresh and at the time of blogging there is little else I can find on this issue, but surely this is a tiny step in the right direction:


Thursday, 12 February 2009

Ehsan Hemat / Nat Gras

I have quite a bit of experience performing both music ans stories, for adults and kids alike. Imagine my surprise to hear that the Belgian dance company "Nat Gras" has made a 45 minute modern dance piece for kids between the ages of 2.5 and 4.5 years old. How do you entertain this age group, and furthermore, how for such long period of time?

One of the 2 dancers in this piece is the Brussels based Ehsan Hemat. When he invited me to come and see the show I didn't hesitate even for a moment. The show itself blew me away. All the movements were based on the going to sleep ritual, familiar to kids of all ages: reading a bedtime story, washing up, putting on your pyjamas, etc. The kids were in trance!

I definately recommend all my reathers in the NL and Belgium to check this company out:


This is a clip of the piece, but with another cast of dancers:

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Ahmadinejad vs. Khatami

Abbas Djavadi has some interesting things to say about the upcoming elections in Iran. Read his article on his blog:


Sunday, 8 February 2009

Dastan's new album

The music of my tar teacher Hamid Motebassem and his Dastan Ensemble has been my introduction to the amazing world of Iranian traditional music. They are without a doubt some of the greatest Iranian musicians and composers. Recently he mailed me to tell me of the new CD his group is bringing out. I could not find any article on the internet about this CD, but here's a picture of the album cover:

What is surprising is the line-up of musicians. Apart from the guest singer Salar Aghili they've added the following musicians to the mix:

Siddharth Kishna - Sitar
Reza Abaee - Qeizhak
Pouya Saraee - Santour

It's quite uncommon for guest musicians to appear on a Dastan album, I can't wait to hear the endresult.

If you are curious about the Dastan ensemble, have a listen to their songs on their myspace site:


Friday, 6 February 2009

Ojos de Brujo

Every so often people ask me what I think of the Iranian rap/hip hop scene. Well... I think it bites. There's lots of angry young men (and women), but very little creativity as far as I'm concerned. If they start mixing traditional or at least older Iranian music with their raps we might be getting somewhere (in the same way rappers were inspired by the motown albums of their parents). Here's a great video of what this fusion of old and new could sound like. Have a listen at the great Spanish band Ojos de Brujo:

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The internet became a bit smaller today

They've done it again, Iranian censors have blocked major news sites like Deutsche Welle and Radio France International:


This site links the recent crackdown to uncertainty about the economy, impending Iranian elections and the new course of the U.S. under Obama:


Happy reading.