January 5, 2019
Iran’s up-and-coming artist Mehdi Yarrahi is believed to have been banned from performing a few days after releasing his anti-war ‘Pareh Sang’ song.
Yarrahi, an Ahwazi Arab, is known for his highly controversial works and is one of the very few artists who maintained a daringly close take on social developments within the Iranian community.
Etemad daily reported that Yarrahi was barred from publishing any of his works after the culture and media ministry summoned managers from the Iranian music publisher Jame Sabz, which sponsored Pareh Sang’s production.
Criticizing the Iraq-Iran war which spanned over eight years, Yarrahi’s hit song expresses the post-war anguish lived in Arab areas witnessed bloody conflict in southwestern Iran.
For the time being, Jame Sabz Manager Farhad Goi Abadi refused to make any statements involving Yarrahi’s work or being questioned by authorities, however, confirmed he will be meeting soon with culture ministry officials.
The reported dispute, on the other hand, was denied by the Public Relations Department of the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Information which said pop singer Yarrahi was not barred in any way.
“I’m the last martyr of this tribe … My tribe, which has no bread or water,” Pareh Sang’s powerful lyrics say, echoing Yarrahi’s struggle which he labels a “torn stone.”
“Death has won and once again the mind has died and all our memories are subject to war … do tell me where we are now and in the name of the war pen. Why have not we had a life yet ?!” the lyrics, sung in Farsi, say.
Hard-line media close to the Revolutionary Guard considered the Pareh Sang’s video clip as an appalling attack on the beliefs and values of the “holy war.”
While ultra-conservatives blasted Yarrahi’s work, other musicians and experts applauded his exceptional knack for balancing traditional and pop culture to deliver a wide-reaching product that resonates with Iranians everywhere.
The singer is also very apt in his social innuendoes and references– throughout his work, Yarrahi was very shrewd in invoking crises faced by Iran such as sanctions and weather pollution. A majority of his work is dedicated to delivering on the suffering of Arabs living south of Iran, namely Ahwaz.
A year ago, at one of his concerts, he wore a mask to protest the pollution. He participated in recent protests that took place in Ahwaz against the diversion of the Karun River. Citing his unmatched passion for defending the environment, southern locals have dubbed Yarrahi “the son of Karun.”