Jon Pareles introduces us to Mohsen Namjoo and his music in The New York Times:
The songwriter Mohsen Namjoo stirs things up in Iran. Mr. Namjoo…plays the setar, a long-necked lute, and is steeped in Persian classical and literary traditions. But in Iran, where Western music was banned in 2005, Mr. Namjoo decided to fuse Persian music with rock and jazz and to sing — in a voice that can push from the nuances of Persian improvisation to the rougher attack of the blues — about the conditions facing his generation: unemployment, repression, violence. Though he was not allowed to perform in public or licensed to sell CDs, his music spread in private events, on the black market and via YouTube and radio.
Eventually, he went into exile and settled in California — though he recently moved to Brooklyn. Some of his songs, which still reach his audience in Iran, have grown more forthright; “Strange Times” warns, “Don’t dare the danger of thinking.” But he prizes allusive poetry and musical exploration above politics. His 2012 album, “13/8,” is full of compositional complexities.
I will forever be grateful that I was introduced to the utility and beauty of hand crafted products early in life - from the symbolic motifs sewn into the coarse linen fabric of Croatian traditional wear to the colorful Kilim carpets that decorated the parquet floors in my grandmother's living room.
I treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," the smell of the flower stalls in the open air market where my grandmother bought produce early every morning for the day’s meals and the summers spent at my great grandmother's where the village wags would come to gossip over thick, black Turkish coffee in her cool stone kitchen.
Someone noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world - one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.