Paris March 2008 Branly Museum
Mahsa Vahdat talks of the challenges of teaching a millenium-old music tradition to neophytes in the French capital. She compares the experience to those in Tehran where she is professor of the maqam traditions that have forged classical Persian music. The exchange between us moves onto her recent album releases and the realities of being an artist in Iran where public performances by women are partly banned.
SETTING: In March 2008, the music department of the Branly museum in Paris invited Mahsa Vahdat to lead a workshop on Iranian vocal music. The three-day exchange preluded the April 12 concert at the prestigious Théatre de la Ville by Mahsa and her equally-gifted sister Marjan.
The interview with Mahsa is part of a 20-minute programme by Radio France International (RFI) on two contrasting music forms in present-day Iran. The other is a fascinating hybrid of Persian, Arab, Indian and African styles created in southern Iranian cities like Boushehr. For years, it has been performed by the Paris-based Shanbehzadeh Ensemble and its leader Saieed Shanbehzadeh. The Cité de la Musique and its music director Alain Weber invited them to be part of a weekend called “Via Zanzibar: Africa in the Orient”. This programme was first broadcast by RFI’s weekly music show World Tracks.
April 16th 2008