Passionate hymn about lost childhood of a whole generation of Iranians.
Mohsen Namjoo (محسن نامجو), an important figure in Iranian alternative music scene and a key figure in kind of a folk revival movement during the 2010s, once compared to early Bob Dylan of the ’60s by The New York Times, has just released his newest album called “Motantan”.
“Motantan”, meaning “grandiloquent” (using long, formal and complicated words in order to impress people and sound important), is Namjoo’s 9th studio album (and 13th release in general). As he explains on the album cover, working on this album started in summer 2015. Since then, he has published three other albums, but several problems delayed reaching the end in this case.
Mohsen Namjoo, originally coming from Torbat-e Jam, a small city in Khorasan province located in north-east of Iran famous for its folk music, blends Iranian classical and folk singing and music with Western music such as blues and rock alongside modern poetry or a modern approach toward classical poetry, with satirical and ironic elements and a theatrical expression in performance.
“Ân Mân Navârân”, which was published as a single in the beginning of February, was inspired by a melody from Aref Qazvini, Iranian lyricist, singer and composer from early 20th century (today we would call him a singer-songwriter).
Words of this song are in fact some famous nursery rhymes which, at the beginning, seem totally in contrast with Aref’s political romantic lyrics. But with a deeper look and the help of the video, it becomes clear it’s about the lost childhood of several generations of Iranians in the shadow of challenging political conditions during last decades.
Namjoo, himself an immigrant to the US for a decade, portrays lots of middle-aged adults that not long ago were kids who spent their early years in the war and the post-war era. And now they are all over the world, separated from each other and from their own childhood. Probably what can revitalise those forgotten childhoods is a melody by a passionate poet from almost a century ago.