Oct 10, 2020, 7:01 PM
Journalist ID: 3080
News Code: 84071215
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Shajarian; Unrepeatable, unique voice of Iranian music

Tehran, October 10, IRNA - Mohammad-Reza Shajarian is an internationally and critically acclaimed Iranian classical singer, composer, and master of Persian traditional music.

Shajarian has been called "Iran's greatest living maestro of Persian classical music." He is also known for his skills in Persian calligraphy and humanitarian activities.

Shajarian was born in Mashad, Iran, and started singing at the age of five, under the supervision of his father. At the age of twelve, he began studying the traditional classical repertoire known as the Radif. 

Shajarian started his singing career in 1959 at Radio Khorasan, rising to prominence in the 1960s with his distinct style of singing. His main teachers were Ahmad Ebadi, Esmaeil Mehrtash, Abdollah Davami, and Nour-Ali Boroumand. He also learned the vocal styles of singers from previous generations, including Reza Gholi Mirza Zelli, Fariborz Manouchehri, Ghamar Molouk Vaziri, Eghbal Azar, and Taj Isfahani. He has cited legendary Iranian tar musician Jalil Shahnaz as highly influential to his development, indicating that he has often tried to mimic Shahnaz’s playing style in his singing.

Shajarian has collaborated with Parviz Meshkatian, Mohammad Reza Lotfi, Hossein Alizadeh, and Faramarz Payvar.

Shajarian, who became famous in the early 1960s for his distinct style of singing the Persian classical music, is the apple of the eye of the Iranians who cherish poetry and good singing in their traditional music.

He is recognized as a skilled singer in the challenging traditional Dastgah style.

Shajarian has received numerous awards, including the 2006 Mozart Medal of UNESCO, and the prestigious Golden Picasso Medal, one of UNESCO’s highest medals, in 1999.

The celebrated singer has also designed and made some new string instruments, including Barbod, Kereshmeh, Saboo, Saghar, Sorahi, and Tondar.

Acclaimed Iranian vocalist Mohammad Reza Shajarian received the prestigious French honor, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

On May 9, 2017, the outstanding prayer of well-known Iranian singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian named “Rabbana” has been registered as the country’s national asset. In a special ceremony, the national registration tablet on “Rabbana” a very famous praying by Mohammad Reza Shajarian was awarded to his son Homayoun Shajarian.

The outstanding performance of Rabbana was aired by radio and TV for about 30 years during the holy month of Ramadan.

Shajarian is the undisputed master of Persian traditional (classical) singing. He is regarded as a national treasure by both musicians and music lovers. His singing is technically flawless, powerful, and strongly emotional. In the music of Iran, traditional singing is the most difficult art to master. Shajarian is the embodiment of the perfect singer and a major source of inspiration.

Shajarian, who suffered from cancer for years, passed away at a hospital in Tehran on October 8, 2020.

His funeral procession was held in a restricted manner due to health protocols imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Shajarian’s family had asked for his body to be buried near the tomb of Ferdowsi, the Great Iranian poet.

Ferdowsi is well-known for preserving Persian Language and Shajarian served the same purpose for Iranian classic music. Laying to rest the maestro near Ferdowsi draws similarity in services of the two Iranian figures after 1,000 year time period.

The life time frame also draws similarity of the two: Ferdowsi died in 1020 and Shajarian died in 2020 and that Ferdowsi was born in 940 and Shajarian was born in 1940.  

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in a message expressed condolences over the demise of Iran's legendary singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian.

"Maestro Mohammad Reza Shajarian, the distinguished artistic figure, and creator of the most enduring Iranian songs, Ramadan singer, and songwriter left a valuable legacy. Surely, the honorable nation of Iran will keep the name, memory, and works of this beloved artist alive in memories," Rouhani wrote on his Twitter account.

"The death of the eternal song of Iran, Maestro Mohammad Reza Shajarian, caused deep grief and regret. Shajarian is the symbol of genuine Iranian music and one of the symbols of the artistic identity of the land," Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Abbas Salehi said.

UN representative office in Iran said in a message that the demise of the great Iranian vocalist Mohammad Reza Shajarian caused deep grief and sorrow.

Meanwhile, the Swiss Embassy to Iran expressed sincere condolences on the demise of Maestro Mohammad Reza Shajarian. "Switzerland will cherish the memories of his concerts in Lausanne and Zurich."

The British Embassy in Tehran also extended condolences to all his fans on the departure of one of the most prominent figures in Iranian traditional music of the last century.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a message expressed condolences over the death of Iranian legendary singer, too.

"Maestro Shajarian was a great & true Ambassador of Iran, her children and—most of all—her culture," Zarif wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday.

"I extend my deepest condolences to Iranians across the world and particularly to his loved ones," he added.

***My world Iran: Shajarian 

All responsible and committed artists are sensitive to their society and people, one of them is Mohammad Reza Shajarian, who in special social moments shows no reaction but a critical action, not for the benefit of an idea or a spectrum and a song, but he himself has repeatedly said, "I think much of the Iranian people and the lovers of this spiritual land... I will not turn my back on it, nor shall I go away from it."

The prominent literature researcher, Mohammad Jafar Yahaghi in Khorasan Razavi province believes that "what Ferdowsi did to persist the Persian language and to strengthen the national identity of Iran, the late Mohammad Reza Shajarian, who did his singing for the current identity of Iran and turned him into Ferdowsi of his time in the field of Iranian singing.

In an exclusive interview with IRNA, Yahaghi noted that "Iranians are grateful to Shajarian and their enthusiastic presence at Master's funeral shows this gratitude".

Celebrated singer Salar Aghili said that the Iranian classical singer Mohammad-Reza Shajarian is unique in the Iranian culture.

The late singer can be regarded as an asset in the Iranian arts, Aghili said, adding that Shajarian belongs to the Iranian nation and society and of course the whole world.

There are numerous singers in Iran, he noted, adding that Shajarian was not just an artist but the master of moral values.

The funeral ceremony was attended by Maestro Shajarian’s family, Iranian artists, officials, and fans. 

The Iranian Classic Music legend and world-acclaimed vocalist was buried near the tomb of Ferdowsi, the Great Iranian poet.

"From God, we come and to Him, we return." 

Compiled and translated by Amin Mohammadzadegan Khoyi

Edited by Hamid Shamlou


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