Post-revolution pop music pioneer Khashayar Etemadi quits after 27 years

November 16, 2019

TEHRAN – Singer Khashayar Etemadi, one of the few pioneers of post-revolution pop music, has regretfully announced that he is leaving the music arena after working in the field for 27 years.

In a letter published by the Persian daily Iran on Saturday, he said, “To the extent of my thoughts, understanding and experiences, I feel whatever has happened to our culture and music needs many reformations.”

In the 1990s, Khashayar was among the few musicians who began making strenuous efforts to bring pop music back to life again in Iran after years of hiatus occurred due to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

“I entered the stage of music 27 years ago with a love of my homeland and cultural environment. I took great pains to talk with art veterans and cultural officials. I even made trips to Qom [home to the major Islamic seminary Feizieh] to clear up misunderstandings about music,” he wrote in the letter.

He also criticized officials’ mismanagement of music and Iranian singers, and added, “I do not feel safe anymore under these circumstances, so I decided to say goodbye to the world of music.”

He also said he will never emigrate from Iran to pursue his career overseas, and added, “I showed respect to the working license I received 27 years ago, but those who granted me the license were not respectful towards it at all.”

A striking resemblance between Khashayar’s husky voice and the voice of an expatriate Iranian singer in Los Angeles caused troubles for him, however, he was finally able to get a green light to sing from cultural officials in the early 1990s. 

He recorded several single songs, but he shot to fame with “Me and You and Tree and Rain” composed by Shahmehr Aqili from a poem by Ahmad Shamlu.     

Photo: Iranian pop singer Khashayar Etemadi in an undated photo. (Musicema/Alireza Haqshanas)

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