Mohsen Namjoo (محسن نامجو) is an Iranian singer and songwriter. His music blends traditional Persian instruments and harmonies with Western blues, rock and jazz influences; his songs pay tribute to ancient Persian poetry, yet under this veneer of tradition, the lyrics are sharp, full of subtle irony, and rail against the present state of Iranian society.
The song we’re posting today, for time zone UTC+3.5, is “Neo-Kantian Ideas” (عقاید نئوکانتی). Part of the soundtrack of 2009 feature film “My Tehran for Sale, ” it expresses the melancholy of young Iranians stuck within their own country, which they love but strongly resent, and envying those who find a better life abroad. Lyrics in English here (excerpt), and in Farsi there.
Very popular among the free-thinking youth of Iran, Namjoo has seldom been able to perform live in his own country, and his CDs are not for sale – officially – in Iran; thankfully, he can count on the country’s thriving black market, as well as on a number of borderline and/or foreign-based websites to reach his fans.
According to his website, Namjoo is now based in California; in 2005, he was condemned in absentia to a 5-year prison term for a song “ridiculing the Quran.” His reputation outside of Iran has been growing steadily over the past few years, and he was even dubbed “the Iranian Bob Dylan” by the NYT…
See also Namjoo’s official Facebook page.