Monday’s show was a musical tribute to Ebi before his impending performance at the Royal Albert Hall (pictured left), with an interview with Shahed Elahi Gomshaei (son of the famous philosopher loved by the young, the old and even the clerics) and an interview with Della from Gulan a Kurdish cultural organisation who are putting on a small Kurdish Festival at London venue: St Ethelburgas Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. But don’t be put off by the name, it’s not the UN. St E’s for R&P looks like a modern church from the front, wedged as it is between to other buildings like the Harry Potter Bus in transit, and backed by a permanent YURT, where many meditations and workshops the place every week.
Shahed Gomshei is publishing a book this month about Mulla Nasreedeen, the Shakespeare’s fool of Iran, more soon.
We also played a James Brown cover by The Black Cats, Ebi’s first band and the super funky track Kandu, by Ebi, see below.
Iran is the last place you might expect to her a James Brown cover or funk music, but Ebi started out in an Iran that few of us would recognise: a vibrant cultural centre open to the ideas of the world, and itself the source of many amazing arts and ideas for the world to enjoy and benefit from.
During this period while Iran may not have enjoyed the most democratic government culturally it was more open to the West. This abruptly came to an end. In 1979 the Islamic Revolution exploded and Khomeini came to power. As a backlash against the fast track modernistation of Iran by the Shah, anything that was of Western influence was banned or destroyed. All music aside from religious or military songs was declared illegal! So records from this period are super hard to get hold of and the artists themselves are scattered like dandelion seeds on the wind. Many artists fled the country, some like the Black Cats went to America.