Sunday, April 28, 2024

On the Prowl With Brief M-End April 2024 #RandomThoughts: #FreeToomaj & A Tribute to Women


April is coming to a close--as the War against women in Iran rages on and on by the Thugs, thieves, and murderers who have held Iran hostage for over 40 years.   As I am finishing these thoughts and supporting the ongoing work of the Daily Outsider, I caught reports that 160 of the so-called Majlis (Parliament) deputies issued a statement heaping praise on the thugs (who are supposed to protect the public as Police Officers) for enforcing the so-called hijab (veil) rule.   Shame is something they have nothing of--I guess.   

This is as there is a continued Worldwide Movement to free the courageous Iranian Rapper, Toomaj, who has been sentenced to death.   As I finish these month-end brief #RandomThoughts, I bow in respect to the women of Iran (and appreciative of the Farhang Foundation for having sponsored a performance recently, which I released earlier to honor all women)  who have continued to endure this brutality as I know that Iran will rise, yet again, like the Phoenix as I join as a simple ordinary face to simply say:  

Onward & Upward!!!

While On the Prowl: A Tribute to Iranian Women Courtesy the Farhang Foundati9on

Honoring the Extraordinary Women of the World.

Experience the extraordinary world premiere video release of "EY ZAN - ای زن (Hey Woman)", an awe-inspiring tribute to the strength and grace of women around the globe. This breathtaking collaboration features the captivating voices of Maliheh Moradi and Mina Deris, who lend their remarkable talent to this powerful ode to womanhood. 

Directed by Sargol Eslamian

Composed by Ehsan Matoori

Lyrics by Hossein Monzavi

Arrangement by Ehsan Matoori & Ali Montazeri

Cello: Aidin Ahmadinejad

Violin, Viola: Niloofar Sohi

Bass: Daniele De Cario

Guitar: Hamed Poursaee

About Maliheh Moradi

Trained by three of the most eminent Iranian vocalists, Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, Parisa, and Ali Asghar Shahzeidi, Maliheh Moradi has attracted attention as a rising star in Iranian classical music. Born to a musical family in 1984, Maliheh began playing tonbak at seven and started singing lessons with her father. She attended the Tehran Conservatory of Music, where she also learned setar.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Persian literature. Maliheh has received training in both vocal and instrumental music from renowned Iranian musicians, including Siamak Jahangiri, Hossein Alizadeh, Mozafar Shafiei, Hasan Pazouki, Mohammad Firouzi, Mohammad-Reza Ebrahimi, and Masoud Shoari.

Maliheh has sung in the Mowlavi Opera (along with Homayoun Shajarian), Singing in Shadow (accompanied by Siamak Jahangiri), and Atash Sabz (film score composed by Mohammad-Reza Darvishi). She has performed at international music festivals in Australia, Spain, Germany, and Poland.

Recently, Maliheh embarked on a new chapter in the United States to further her musical journey and is a prominent vocalist in the Voices Unveiled music project.

Her new album 'Our Sorrow,' composed by Ehsan Matoori, was published by ARC Nexus World on April 14, 2024.

About Mina Deris

Born in 1981 amidst the Iran-Iraq war, Mina embarked on a lifelong musical journey that would shape her identity and touch the hearts of many. From an early age, Mina's exceptional singing talent captivated those around her, earning her recognition as the best singer among her peers.

At 15, Mina felt a magnetic pull toward the enchanting world of Arab music inspired by the legendary Umm Kulthum. Growing up in Abadan, Iran, her Arab heritage and mother tongue naturally drew her to the mesmerizing melodies of Arabic classical music, known as maqam. After university, Mina dedicated herself to studying Iranian classical music under the guidance of Master Hengameh Akhavan and Master Farhang Sharif.

As her reputation grew, Mina became a sought-after vocalist, collaborating with various Iranian pop, folk, and fusion bands. In 2014, she proudly graduated from the esteemed Music Conservatory of Tehran, a testament to her years of dedication and hard work.

Driven by curiosity and a desire to bridge musical traditions, Mina delved into the exploration of ancient Arab melodies from the southern regions. Her unique approach involved blending these timeless melodies with modern electronic styles, creating a captivating fusion that resonated strongly with the younger generation.

Mina's talent took her to stages worldwide, captivating audiences in Iran, Qatar, Turkey, Italy, Germany, France, and Iraq. In 2017, she expanded her creative horizons by venturing into acting, taking on the role of an actress and singer in a powerful play about homeless women.

Since 2016, Mina has served as the lead singer of the renowned Novak Ensemble, releasing single tracks and albums like "Agitation" and "Bidel," which showcased her artistic vision and musical depth.

With the winds of change blowing in her homeland, Mina made the difficult decision to seek a new chapter in the United States. At Boston University, she delivered a powerful concert recounting the story of four decades of oppression and pressure.

Today, Mina is honored to be part of the Unveiled Voices band alongside composer Ehsan Matoori and singer Maliheh Moradi. Together, they continue to enchant audiences with heartfelt music, transcending cultural boundaries and connecting souls through the power of melody.

About Ehsan Matoori

Ehsan Matoori is an Iranian Santoor player, Composer and Music Producer.

Born in 1979 in Iran, Ehsan Matoori began learning Santoor (Iranian-dulcimer) based on Maestro Faramarz Payvar’s method at age 9.

He studied instrumental and vocal Radif (Iranian musical repertory) with Parviz Meshkatian and Pashang Kamkar, and later started teaching Santoor.

Ehsan took lessons from Ardavan Kamkar, one of the greatest contemporary Santoor players of Iran, known for his distinct playing style and tuning techniques. In addition to playing Santoor, Ehsan has studied music composition and harmony with Farhad Fakhroaldini and children’s music with Soudabeh Salem.

After moving to the United States in 2013, Ehsan performed with world music masters such as Sandeep Das (tabla), Jamal Mohamed (percussionist), Paul Sriji (mridangam), Maeve Gilchrist (jazz harp), Matthew Coley (marimba), Mike Block (cello), Bassam Saba (oud), Sybarite5 (string quintet) and Greg Ellis (percussionist). He has also been a member of SMU world music ensemble since 2013 and a member of the Silk Road Global Musicians Workshop as a faculty assistant and performer since 2016.

His first album “Phantasm” in collaboration with Mohsen Namjoo was published in 2019 and streamed more than 4,000,000 times and downloaded on all digital platforms. His love of learning about cultures and feeling their melodies, has inspired his musical compositions which represent these cultures and bring new words to the world. Exploring diverse musical and poetic traditions around the world, Matoori has recently been working on a multilingual project called “The Voices and Bridges” which was announced by the BBC world, BBC Persian and the Silk Road Project in July 2019 and July 2020.

Ehsan believes that his music “should bring happiness to people and bring people together.”


Sunday, April 21, 2024

Out & About With #RandomThoughts On Iran

Despite all the challenges (and I just saw a report about how violators will have their rights taken away), I see this, and I know the spirit of Iran will never ever die:


Monday, April 15, 2024

Out & About With Some Mid-Month #RandomThoughts


It is "mid-month" as I continue to work away on projects and commitments.   I am grateful for the continued privilege to do my small part as a Global Citizen and in that spirit, I wanted to remember the 7 brave souls who paid the ultimate price for their selfless dedication to service as I look forward to doing my small part as a simple ordinary face in the crowd: 

“These are people I served alongside in Ukraine, Turkey, Morocco, The Bahamas, Indonesia, Mexico, Gaza, and Israel. They were far more than heroes,” said WCK founder and Chief Feeding Officer José Andrés. “Their work was based on the simple belief that food is a universal human right. It is not conditional on being good or bad, rich or poor, left or right. We do not ask what religion you belong to. We just ask how many meals you need.”
Read José’s opinion piece in the New York Times
WCK coordinated everything correctly with the IDF in advance. Despite that, our convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded hundreds of tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on our newly established maritime route from Cyprus. “This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable,” said Erin Gore, CEO of WCK.
Read the full statement from World Central Kitchen
The IDF has acknowledged its responsibility and its fatal errors in the deadly attack on our convoy in Gaza. It is also taking disciplinary action against some of those in command and committed to other reforms. These are important steps forward. But without systemic change, there will be more military failures and more grieving families. In addition to the tens of thousands of Palestinians killed, nearly 200 humanitarian workers have lost their lives during this conflict. That is why World Central Kitchen is demanding the creation of an independent commission to investigate the killings of our WCK colleagues.

Read WCK’s statement about the IDF preliminary investigation

While we continue to demand full accountability for what happened to our team—our friends—we continue to mourn the loss of their incredible hearts and smiles. WCK’s leadership is in close contact with their families, and we are doing everything we can to support them in this unimaginable time. Please stay tuned to our social media channels for information about the WCK global community honoring the lives of these heroes and ways you can participate. In the coming days, we will be sharing heartfelt tributes to remember their vibrant lives and indelible impact on the world.

Images from vigils held in Poland and Paris.

Someday it will come. We know this. Every person who was born will die. Whether it’s soon or a long time from now, peaceful or violent, expected or not, we cannot know, all we know is that it will happen.

But everybody, including Marcus Aurelius, wonders what people will be saying, what it will mean for you to be leaving this world. We wonder about our legacy. We wonder how quickly we’ll be forgotten. In Meditations, Marcus speculated that despite the life he’d tried to live, the good he’d tried to do, there would still be people who were happy to see him go. No doubt, he wondered how he would be remembered, what his legacy would be. But he also wrote about how little this actually mattered, how it wasn’t in his control. Isn’t this also part of one of the most famous scenes in literature—where Huck Finn gets to sneak in to see his own funeral, eavesdropping on what everyone is saying about him, whether they’re grieving him or not?

Wanting to be remembered, to be loved, to be celebrated–it’s a timeless, powerful urge. Some argue that much of civilization, most of art, most of war, and success is in some way rooted in a denial of death, wanting to live forever, wanting to be talked about after we’re gone.

It’s funny that although Marcus tried to remind himself that posthumous fame was not worth much (he’d be dead), he still managed to find it. He is remembered. We are talking about him in today’s email–and although there were some people who were glad he was on his deathbed (and some people today don’t admire him), he did end up being remembered and is widely admired. The book he wrote, Meditations, wasn’t intended for publication…but it was and is selling like crazy (we even created our own leather edition here at Daily Stoic).

Maybe that is the ultimate lesson here. Don’t think about it. Don’t focus on fame or a monument to your success. Don’t try to make sure everyone knows how important or wonderful you are. Just try to be good. Focus on the day in front of you. Live it well, live it according to your values. Leave the legacy—whether it happens or not—for whatever happens or not.