Going underground

We have crossed a large part of Iran and have just left the small desert village where we stayed for a few days. The houses there were made of yellow mud and earth in beautiful round shapes. It was my first time ever in the desert and this place was a real oasis..and felt like home. Yesterday evening we recorded Richard Thompson’s “Waltzing for Dreamers” in an old Karavanserai under the starry sky.

By now we have given three concerts in Iran. The first in the safety of the residency of the ambassador in Teheran for a mixed Dutch/Iranian company. This was a very special gathering since people hardly ever have the chance to visit a concert and never get to hear a women’s voice in public. I received such warm response afterwards..it was a joy to play there. The people were very open to the music and it was nice to find out that audiences are the same everywhere (and this has been my experience in general while travelling through Iran. For contradictory to what some might think it is very safe here and the people are very, very friendly..).
We also gave a small concert for sick children and nurses at Mahak Hospital in Teheran, where I was allowed to sing in public, which we were told is very special and unique for Iran. Finally we gave another precious concert..underground. And this was real underground music for even though the concert was private, the Iranian musicians involved were scared and a lot of precautions were taken.. We were brought to a secret location, with a secret password and all and gave a concert  for a very sympathetic Iranian audience. It was a very good experience. Unfortunately Hans was ill that evening so we don’t have any film recordings.

( It has been hard finding a good internet connection the last few weeks. While I am posting this we are in east Iran and will cross the Pakistan border tomorrow. I will write more as soon as I can..)

 Our earlier encounter with the instrument builder in Qazvin
Special moments during the recording with the instrument builder in Qazvin

Bert playing together with some excellent Iranian musicians
Bert playing with two excellent Iranian musicians

 tuning (with another excellent Iranian musician)

Tuning with another excellent musician

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3 Responses to “Going underground”

  1. Bill Says:

    Your journey sounds really interesting-and it is very pleasing to hear that you have found the people in Iran to be so friendly. My son has a very good Iranian friend who is a surgeon here in the UK. He was invited to be best man at his friend’s traditional wedding in Iran a few years ago – and he also found the people there to be the kindest he had ever met. (He never felt that he was in the slightest danger!)

    Journeys such as yours do so much good for building trust and friendship between peoples – if only our politicians could all make music together, the world would be a much safer place!

    PS I have just read on the Southbank website that another Sandy Denny tribute concert is scheduled for 1st Dec at Queen Elizabeth Hall. I hope they have invited you (even if you are not able to be there!)

  2. Jørn Says:

    Hoi Linde en Bert,

    Hoe meer ik over jullie belevenissen lees, hoe meer ik onder de indruk ben. Wat jullie doen in Servië, Turkije, Iran en alle andere plaatsen waar jullie nog zullen komen, is meer dan alleen prachtige muziek maken. Het stijgt uit boven het niveau van “art for art’s sake”. Jullie reisverslagen ademen een sfeer van een open geest, van nieuwsgierigheid naar wat mensen uit andere culturen te bieden hebben; wat jullie van hen en wat zij van jullie kunnen leren. Dat is misschien wel het mooiste van muziek: dat het over alle fysieke en mentale grenzen heen mensen bij elkaar kan brengen en harten kan openen.
    Juist in een tijd waarin de stem van de onderbuik steeds luider klinkt – je refereerde er zelf al aan in je vorige bericht, Linde, en we hebben daar afgelopen week weer stuitende voorbeelden van gezien naar aanleiding van de benoeming van Aboutaleb tot burgemeester van Rotterdam – zijn jullie verhalen een ware verademing.
    Ik blijf jullie volgen (en word steeds benieuwder naar de DVD…)!

    Jørn

  3. Roos Says:

    Lieverds,

    Wat Jørn schrijft is maar al te waar! Het doet me denken aan de semi-dessert in Botswana, waar ik liedjes zong voor “oma” , de oude vrouw in het dorp Paje, waar we destijds woonden. Ze kon geen woord Engels, ze was nog nooit verder geweest dan het naburige dorp, maar middels de muziek konden we elkaar verstaan, en natuurlijk hoort daar een openheid en nieuwsgierigheid bij. Wat is er heerlijker dan te ontdekken.
    Ga zo door, linde en Bert!

    Liefs, Roos

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