By Fred Parvaneh
In the 1970s, a new musical movement was created by blending modern and traditional Persian beats with Western rhythm and blues and classic pop. The movement, known as ‘Taraneh Nouvin’ (or ‘new song’ in Persian) gained popularity in post-revolutionary Iran, especially with the younger generation living outside the country.
One of the main architects of the ‘Taraneh Nouvin’ sound is a singer called Rastin. Originally from Tehran but raised in Sweden, Rastin has been compared to Dariush and Ebi. His voice and music evoke a sense of romanticism, but with a political message.
In 2008. Rastin released his first studio album “Simorgh” with the respected producer-composer Farid Zoland, a critical as well as commercial success. Since then, Rastin has had a string of successful concert tours worldwide, and has also released new music.
Kayhan Life spoke to Rastin about his upcoming concert in Los Angeles and his musical career so far.
You have a new song out and a special concert coming up in Los Angeles. Tell us more.
The name of the song is “100 Khatereh” (100 Memories). The music is by Farid Zoland, working with a young and talented lyricist, Bardia Nejad, and it is arranged by Aram Avagyan. The song was released on January 29th:
“100 Khatereh” is a rhythmic, romantic love song with touches of Spanish salsa & flamenco in its arrangement.
I will be performing on April 21 at the NOVO by Microsoft (formerly the Nokia Club), in the LA Live Entertainment area of downtown Los Angeles. I’m performing with a big band: a 12-piece band handpicked by L.A.’s top musicians.
It will be a mostly upbeat, energetic dance music set, with a few heart-warming ballads thrown in for good measure. There will also be a new musical collaboration with top DJs at the end of the show.
The term “multi-faceted” is often used to describe you. Why?
I think “multi-faceted artist” refers to the lyrics and the music written and created for me by some of the greatest modern-day Iranian lyricists and composers – basically a dream team I have been working with since 2008. I enjoy and absolutely love to have rich and meaningful lyrics in work, and I’m absolutely not afraid to experiment with different musical styles and arrangements in my albums.
Your musical influences seem quite varied and eclectic. How would you describe them and who are some of the musicians you admire?
I love dynamic music, with lots of range and vocal tonality – music that grabs you and pushes you up to the sky and lets your fantasy do the rest. I would present my music as dynamic pop music, with a touch of world music: some Spanish flavor, flamenco, symphonic orchestra, Middle Eastern instruments, Western remixes and beats, etc.
I like various artists, bands and musical genres: Pink Floyd, Sting, Tom Jones, Depeche Mode, Andrea Bocelli, Led Zeppelin, Röyskopp, Kaskade, Lenny Kravitz, Ebi, Dariush, Siavash Ghomayshi, and the list goes on …
How do you come up with a new song? Do you play a musical instrument yourself?
I don’t write music yet – maybe one day.
When I practice my songs, I play piano, which helps me understand the melody and the music better, and have a smoother and better recording session at the studio. I am also fortunate to have a talented wife who is a violin and piano teacher and a musician who teaches me to fine-tune my piano-playing skills.
What do you do when not performing?
I am a creative director for a marketing media company that works with different clients, and I manage graphic artists in my team. We usually work with type, layouts, colors, composition, and I think that also helps me [in] my music.
I like to exercise and stay healthy. I usually go to the gym and have a nice jog outside. I believe that as a performing artist you have to be healthy physically, which also helps me be healthy mentally and focused. I also like to read and watch movies.
Do you have a message for our readers and for your fans?
My message to your readers and to my fans is, support your artists and their music. To me, art is life: we should appreciate art in any form. Art shapes our daily lives and puts color into it.