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Mahsa Vahdat (IR)

To sing is a human right

In Iran it is forbidden for women to sing in public spaces. That means Mahsa Vahdat, who was born and raised in Tehran, can play piano or sing in front of other women, but cannot form melodies with her vocal cords where unfamiliar men congregate. “A voice is physically revealing. It’s a very strong form of personal expression,” she told newspaper Dagsavisen this spring.

Mahsa problematizes this law on her latest album, “The Sun Will Rise”, which she recently won the Critic Award in Germany .

Unlike the preceding full-lengths – several in collaboration with her sister Marjan and American soul singer Mighty Sam McClain – all instruments stripped are away. What remains is solely her voice, which throws itself towards church ceilings and brick walls, including those of Emanuel Vigelands mausoleum in Oslo, like an undertow in the dead of night.

Despite its hopeful title, it’s a haunting release. This is largely due to Mahsa Vahdat mournful voice, which catches all attention. She is also identified as one of the 50 most influential women in Iran over the past 200 years. To this extent, you can understand why Iranian authorities consider it a major threat: As long as her throat vibrates, we are forced to feel how intense being truly is.

Text: Kim Klev

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