12 years ago, I wrote a piece for choir and soloist in solidarity with the people-led protests against the controversial 2009 Iranian election, which saw at least dozens of peaceful Iranian protestors killed, including the 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan. Today, as I prepare to release a recording of this piece, Iranians are once again flooding the streets in an unprecedented women-led protest against the Iranian government. This time, we chant different names, those of Mahsa Amini (22), Sarina Esmailzadeh (16), Nika Shakarami (16), and hundreds of others, many of them children and teenagers, who were brutally killed in pursuit of their most basic human rights and freedoms; we chant new names, but we strive for the same values.
I can’t tell you how difficult and emotional it has been for me to listen to this music over and over again as I finalized the editing. Like many of my Iranian friends, I am heartbroken, angry, tired, and yet I am hopeful that this time is different. This time, Iranian women lead with astonishing courage. This time, the unity and the desire for change among Iranians is too strong to be broken.
This track was recorded in 2012 with the now disbanded Vancouver Peace Choir and soloist Amir Haghighi, directed by Timothy Corlis. It was a true gathering in music of friends from different backgrounds, religions, walks of life, and musical influences. For various reasons, we were unable to release the recording until today. Today, it is released on Bandcamp, as were as on all major streaming platforms; I hope it brings some hope and solace to you all at this time.
I would like to thank Timothy Corlis and the Vancouver Peace Choir for championing this music. I would like to thank Amir Haghighi for his jaw-dropping artistry; Amir gave this piece his all at every performance and continues to bring many of us to tears. I would like to thank Marina Nemat for her beautiful words. I was struggling to find the right poem for this piece for months. Marina’s poem fit my vision for the music like a glove, and the piece wrote itself in less than two weeks. I would also like to thank David Simpson, Liz Hamel, and Pouya Hamidi for their help with the recording, production, engineering and mastering of this track.