Shajarian laments neglect of Iranian regional music

October 20, 2007

TEHRAN -- Grand master of traditional Iranian music Mohammadreza Shajarian paid tribute to veteran Baluchi singer Mulla Kamal Khan Hut in a ceremony held at the Aseman Art and Cultural Complex on Wednesday.

He made a speech at the ceremony in which he reviewed some of the characteristics of Mulla Kamal Khan’s work and expressed his great sorrow at Iran’s negligence towards its great heritage of regional music.
Following is an excerpt from his speech, “It is a great honor for me to be participating in this ceremony paying tribute to this maestro of music from Sistan-Baluchestan Province in South-eastern Iran. It is a pity that the work of Mulla Kamal and other such singers has not been recognized and honored earlier.
“We have ignored these noble figures and the significance of their role in promoting the culture of our land, and through neglect we have deprived Iranian music of great resources.
“Baluchestan is a land of mysteries and epics. It is the home of ancient heritage and history. The Baluchis are one of the oldest of our nation’s clans whose music has always held mystery and whose melodies carry the name and memory of this land.
“In every variety of our regional music, the tone and song of life’s art and activities is observed in its deepest and most beautiful form.
“Music reveals the secret of each nation and I believe that one cannot know the spirit and culture of a nation without knowing its music.
“One of the major characteristics of Baluchi culture is the extent and depth to which it is connected with music. The Baluchi people use music on every occasion, in religious ceremonies, funerals, weddings, birthdays, even on fishing trips and when date collecting.
“Alas, in the modern world of today, the variety of our nation’s culture is in danger and there is a risk that these beautiful memories gradually fade away and that we lose our taste for such fine accomplishments and our ability to enjoy them. I cannot hide my sorrow when I see the rich heritage of Iran’s regional clans’ music gradually being forgotten.
“The Music of the Kurds, Turks, Arabs, and Turkmen form a great treasure of Iranian culture and every individual should feel proud of possessing such a heritage.
“Iranian music is a rich combination of songs and melodies composed in every corner of this land, and each clan has spent its life developing them.
“In my belief, Iran should not be considered as having just one particular culture, what makes Iran more beautiful and rich is that it is composed of a distinctive variety of nations and cultures.
“We feel pity when we notice that the variety in customs, language, and traditions is being forgotten. I wish there was an organization which would take responsibility for preserving our intangible heritage of music.
“I wish IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) would dedicate part of its program to the different cultures of Iranian clans and familiarize our children with the cultural variety of this land.