In Iranian culture, the art of music has a long history. From ancient times to the present day, every corner of Iran is indebted to works that express the age of our music
Today, in a situation where the cultural, social and psychological effects of music on human thought and spirit are clearly evident and where this talent is widely used in all regions and countries of the world, according to many elders and experts, us and our land In the field of music, we are in a serious and bad recession.
It is as if the passengers of the musical train suddenly disappeared in a station along the way. Only among the new passengers of this train, one sometimes hears a whisper of past memories of legends and memories of the golden age of music. Sometimes we also see the great music masters of the past quietly watching in a corner.
Arman Afifeh, singer, songwriter and CEO of Avaye Armani Music Company, answered our questions about the current state of music and the reasons for its stagnation and weakness.
To begin with, what is your interpretation of the current musical situation in Iran?
I’m sorry that Iranian music is confusing these days! Music is one of the fundamental arts. All arts have a relational aspect and are related to each other, a painter listens to music while painting and uses the effects it has on his soul in his art. Therefore, the status of music is higher than that of many other arts. But it is a pity that this position in our country has been called into question! The taste of the current young generation after hearing this music, poetry and song is exposed to severe destruction and there are many questions in the minds of people like me that we cannot find answers to.
First of all, we should ask ourselves where are the guardians of music in this country and do we who have been in the music business for many years know about them? Who should be responsible for destroying the thoughts and creativity of today’s generation in the future? We don’t have a well-known music curator in the country. Our musical artist does not know where to turn. Who should plan the future of music? To what extent should the government’s role in this file be one of intervention and oversight? So many questions that no one has yet answered!
Your years of activity in Radio Tehran and cooperation with many great famous musical artists is a bright point in your artistic career, which brought you a valuable art collection, and today you are one of the few survivors of the golden age of Iranian music. . However, what measures have you taken to improve the musical situation?
I’m the only one with two decades of thriving music literature, and he’s got his hands full. I am ready to give the young generation good songs and music to sing. I have a lot of songs with poems with an Iranian atmosphere that have not yet been composed and performed. I have witnessed hearing good voices in the younger generation. They don’t have a music player. Professor Farhad Fakhredini officially announced four years ago: “Creativity in music is dead. But I and others like me do not have the ability to act. Give us an orchestra so that the young people and I can do what is necessary. I miss the music. We want the music to go beyond what it is. There is still time to save the music.
You have been mentioned as an artist who tried to find the boundary between tradition and modernity in song and composition and chose the middle ground. What is the reason for this choice?
We have a precious heritage called authentic Iranian music, which will somehow stop if we want to repeat it often. It is true that they make music for new songs and new demands, but these ballads are rooted in traditional music, and if these roots are not preserved, the music will be confused. You have to follow the principles of innovation.
Years ago they said that we should record traditional music and keep it in the archives of Iranian musical culture. They got together and reviewed Haft Saz’s music, which was performed at the Culture and Art Sound Center. This collection has been preserved as a relic of early music. This movement was the right movement in its time and the need of its time. We must recognize the need of our time and move forward.
You have trained many students in the field of composition. What do you think is the best way to train a composer?
When I got on the radio and started singing, they sent me to music class. I said these songs don’t satisfy me, I have to make new songs. Young people feel the same. The music must satisfy them. You can’t stop them from appropriating the traditions. Of course, the success of a composer depends on the talent of each, music is a science that cannot be learned at school. Composition cannot be taught in the conservatories of Austria and Vienna. Those who left did not become composers, but learned the science of music. The artists of our time had no academic training and produced the best composers. Our love was music. There is a solution to get rid of this problem and we can definitely fix the situation.
You belong to a time when poetry held an important place in music and was probably worth the song. As a composer, what is the relationship between lyrics and songs in your mind?
Poetry has an independent identity and place in Iranian culture, and in the past poetry was mixed into all aspects of people’s lives. The roots of poetry in our country are very strong. We see its background in the story. It is true that poetry must evolve with the demands of time, but its link with its past must not be severed.
Poetry exchanges energy with music. It’s not a ballad that Hafez and Sadi Rumi’s Diwan opens and reads, it’s a percussion. Previously, the percussionist of our orchestra sang the ghazal of Hafez with several rhythms and did not pretend to make music. The correct procedure is that the composer first creates the melody, then communicates with the poet and the lyricist, and the lyricist sings the song with the effect of a new feeling. That’s the reality of ballad writing.
And that’s why today’s songs don’t last and spread by word of mouth like they did in the past?
Yes… in the past there was friendship between poets and composers and this was an important factor in the immortality of these works. Today’s songwriters emulate the golden age of music, but they can’t bring to life what they should and those words. They try and want to do it, but the result is cold and they don’t like it. The feeling at that time was something else. Now, I’m at an age where I don’t have jealousy or confrontation, but today’s work doesn’t go to my heart or people’s hearts.
You have implemented various programs in Isfahan. How did you feel about being in this city and among its people?
I was in Isfahan in January last year and a good concert took place. The Isfahanis are art lovers and understand art. If they offer me, I will gladly come to Isfahan. It’s not right for me to go get a license and think about renting a room. If the system is correct, invite the teachers to come to the square to play.