News ID: 319401
Published: 0336 GMT January 14, 2022



There is music to be heard in the city

By Farzaneh Shahrokhi Dana*


Each person enjoys a life rhythm as unique as their fingerprints. There is an ensemble of melodies playing out in our lives, sometimes happy and other times sorrowful, to whose notes we dance and cry, alternatingly. There is a music running deep in our lives, a kind of unspeakable language, something beyond the realm of words, for which not even a grandmaster poet can come up with appropriate lyrics. There is a rhythmic dance of emotions on the defenseless land of the heart. Inspired by that utterly natural rhythm of life, a musician may let us drift into the memories, subsumed with reminders of both pleasant events and things gone terribly wrong.

Music comes from the soul. That’s why many people play musical instruments instinctively, which means through their hearts, rather than learning by trial and error. A subset of such people have always fascinated me: Those who play and sing on the roadsides or in subway stations. More often than not, they suddenly break the immense silence of metropolitan space, and they silence the frantic uproar of the crowd by making them forget about their problems, the repetitiveness of their lives, and boring routines of their daily affairs.

Sometimes their presence turns into a spectacle with people surrounding them. Their delightful performance is very cheering. And they themselves seem to be lovely, perhaps because the heightened feelings of positive energy activates their power of attraction. Exuding deeply touching notes of life, they can distract the people gathered round them, helping them let go of their concerns, even if only momentarily.

This kind of musical performance is usually driven by mixed forces, including artistic expression, financial need, and the desire to be seen for those who otherwise have no opportunity to grow their abilities. Many of them could have been a member of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, or the Vienna Philharmonic, wearing a black tie, bowing to the audience when they receive a standing ovation. But life is not fair. Unfortunately, many things are predetermined for us without us having a say in it, like our parents, our country of origin, the color of our skin, or our mother tongue. Many of those street performers are denied a bigger stage out of no fault of their own.

In a sense, they are survivalists who quickly adjust to their surrounding environment. Every morning, they rush toward a corner of the city with their instrument in their hands, hoping to earn their daily bread. If lucky enough, one day they may be noticed by a benefactor who would support them.

There is something amazing about them: They never beg for money. It’s out of the pleasure of listening to their notes that some people hand them a banknote. One day, I saw a six-year-old boy in the subway, carrying a loudspeaker, playing a nostalgic joyful song, singing, somehow himself dancing to it, and once in a while yelling out: “Clap your hands and be happy!” And he meant it. He wanted to make people happy.

The train stopped and a stream of people got out to pursue their lives, with the little boy leaving our wagon to join another. I still wonder how far the lyrics he sang were from his innermost feelings. And I still hope to watch him some day in a live concert, on a big stage, singing, moving, inviting us to be happy, with those bright, though a bit naughty, eyes of his which were filled with hope.


*Farzaneh Shahrokhi Dana is a guest contributor to Iran Daily.



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