Namjoo Performance, Stanford


Namjoo Performance, Stanford
by oktaby

I looked forward to Namjoo's performance since last year, almost to the date (// He did not disappoint. He never does; even if he did not reach my high expectation. Mohsen seemed different; Less tense, his mood lighter and a tad heavier. Soon we learned the reason. Namjoo told of his wedding a few months earlier and "love of my life" as he introduced his wife Bahareh Sabzevari.

He started with Reshi Tsering Tan, Tibetan artist that had just managed to clear Chinese visa hurdles and make it to U.S. for the very last performance of Stanford's Asian Music Fest //  with Namjoo. It was fitting that these two artists collaborate and reflect emotions of two massively oppressed people, in distinctly different but primal styles.

As Abbas Milani introduced Namjoo & Reshi before they started, the weight of the unfolding tomorrow (25 Bahman) was not lost on anyone;  least of all Namjoo who started with a stingy mockery of the situation in Iran including phrases like 'omidhaye alaki ro bal'eidim…beheshto jahannam didim', 'allaf kardan hamamoono', 'akharin kesi ke in nokte ro fahmid Akbar Ganjiye'. The giggling of the audience throughout this song, provided a colorful backdrop to this recorded performance. This theme was repeated with the last song 'Alaki'  before Namjoo returned for a quick encore.

He dedicated the next song to: "molaye motaghiaan, amir al mo'menin, Ali Alayhe-salam"; with the title of "Ghoromsagh". He got applause from most of the packed house while a few clueless still struggling with what they just heard, looked as deer in headlights.

The back up vocals were impressive as usual. Mark Deutsch, a new collaborator, was great on Bass, Bazan Tar, and Guitar. Ali Baziar, on percussion, got a round of applause. 

Namjoo seemed to warm up slower than I have seen before or perhaps he was a bit distracted with fitting Reshi, but was warm when he sang Deylaman; and hit his stride with visceral and powerful tones that are his trademark when he got into Zadeh (drunk) with tenacity and color only his vocal cords and talent can pull off without a hitch. 

I am glad to say that he is still evolving and improving, even if the pace has slowed, perhaps for a well-deserved break to tend other life matters. I wonder if he might get comfortable and soft as most have; myself included. He still has the fire and I hope he gets back to the creative pace he was on.

Contemporary Iran needs him, among few select others, to document our national composition, emotions and pain through his vocal tapestry; for posterity


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Love has toned him down?!

by Monda on

Hmm, his intensity was crucial to his work... at least to me. I would try to catch his next performance anyway. Thank you for your nice report oktaby.