The Voice of Iran
Mohammad Reza Shajarian
is probably the most important “ethnic” or World singer of today. He
was awarded the Picasso Prize by Unesco, a rare honour only given to the greatest, among them Shostakowitch, Menuhin and Nusrat
Fateh Ali Kahn. The film was shot during his European tour 2002, where he for the first time talked to
a Western film camera. He was accompanied by two of the greatest Iranian musicians of today, Hossein Alizadeh and Keyhan Kalhor,
and sang with his son Houmayoun Shajarian. He discusses his music, which covers
almost a 1000 years of Iranian history reaching back to texts by the famous poets Rumi,
Sadi and Hafez from 12th century. He also talks extensively about the spiritual world of music and its clash with
the political reality. And he talks about the art of improvising combined with his love for the traditional
Iranian poetry and music. The unique moment and the ancient tradition meet in his song and music.
My attitude to filming music is the exactly opposite of the fashionable television approach and MTV-style. Television-producers
are usually afraid of long music takes, no matter how rare and extraordinary the music is. They distrust the attention of
the audience to a degree that they dare not let the music live in its own rights. I dislike in general quick editing, which
in particular would be a treason to the music of Shajarian. In stead I go for
long, meditative shots, which allow the spectator to concentrate fully on the music. Although some will call this approach
non-filmic, I consider it the only possible filmic approach to Shajarians world – just like Eric Rohmers films, and
some of Fassbinders, are not less “filmic” because they film language!
To my knowledge
there does not exist any other film on Shajarian. Therefore it is a sensation that he allowed me to film his concert and talked
with me at length in front of the camera .
Christian Braad Thomsen