March 23rd we celebrate Persian New Year with a free event at the National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2H OHE. Persian New Year happens at the Spring Equinox, the start of Spring (when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is runs parallel to the Sun and day and night are equal lengths).
There will be Iranian music, film, a talk (in English) and a bar. The screening is of the ‘self-portrait in film’ by Jafar Panahi, the ‘illegally-made’ This Is Not a Film which is subtitled in English. In order to get this to us, Panahi smuggled the film out of Iran inside a cake.
The screening is free, please arrive in good time to get a seat (6.45pm). Before that we’ll also have a talk on the origins and meaning of Norooz upstairs in the gallery (7-7.30pm), followed by a DJ set charting Iranian musical progression from the early 20th century through to 21st. We’ll be kicking off with early Iranian music from the 1920s-30s as seen below, and ending with songs of today – 90 years later – from Iran. This piece below is by Qamar ol-Molouk Vaziri, a prominent vocalist and intellectual. Thanks to Aref Adib for identifying the singer.