Sahar Ajdamsani is a celebrated Iranian writer, poetess and singer. She is also activist and photographer. Her name is universally known in Iranian Woman rights field. We had the chance to chat with Sahar about her love towards writing and music.
REM: Thank you Sahar for giving this chance. You as a poetess, musician, and a photographer, how can you describe the position of women in Iran?
Ajdamsani: Dear Rana, I thank you for the interview. Alright, as you know there is more inequality and oppression against women than men and in third world countries. This oppression and inequality against women are seen more often that even the most obvious rights of women are ignored. Iran is a patriarchal country where women are not valued and have many limitations.
REM: We heard a lot about Iranian Metal bands who are active outside their homeland, but what about the active Rock/Metal bands inside? You had a documentary project about Iranian Rock. Can you tell us about it?
Ajdamsani: Some music styles are forbidden in Iran like Metal, Hip-hop, and some Rock genres and bands recently. Reza Yazdani is the best rock star in Iran and has many fans. His work is very professional, and he is in a good position in this world. Iranian rock is Persian rock which is the western Soft rock that took the Iranian taste. Due to the rules of internal permitted groups, they cannot present pure western rock and therefore they invented Persian rock. Concerning the rock, life, limitation, I photographed rock and metal bands in Iran and also from life to training, concerts, etc. through documents. I wanted to show hardship, efforts, and dreams.
REM: Award-winning strong lady as you live in an isolated community as Iran, how do you see your homeland? Do you feel belonging or exiled within your homeland’s walls?
Ajdamsani: Like anyone, I love my country too, but if only men and women were equal in terms of rights, I could pursue my favorite artistic activities without worry and stress. Really why should I not be able to hold concerts easily like men? So that all segments of the society can attend my concerts. I have no sense of belonging or exile, but I like to live in another country.
REM: Can you describe to us the music concert mood in Iran?
Ajdamsani: Male singers’ concerts are very nice and they are held in multi-thousand-person halls and are widely welcomed by the public. However, they encounter many limitations in their performances due to the rules too. Regarding female singers, since singing is forbidden and prohibition for women, we may be allowed to hold concerts after much effort; concerts just for women.
In a 200-person hall where my audiences are only women, I’m not allowed to even take photos or film my concerts. I have no rights to advertise my concerts. I can only hold three concerts a year and only in the city of Tehran, the capital. These concerts are not much welcomed. Even most women are not aware that there are concerts held for women. It’s incredibly painful. I wish I can hold concerts in big halls and present my performances as men do in my country.
REM: You are a well-educated and a cultured lady, how do you know the future of the Iranian Arts? Will the unique Iranian art survive?
Ajdamsani: The Iranian art will always live because hardworking artists will finally find a way despite the limitations.
REM: Are you thinking of immigration?!
Ajdamsani: Yes, almost most Iranians think of immigrating because as you know Iran currently has a bad economic and social condition, and our society is in the transition period. But I don’t like to leave my country completely. I like to immigrate and learn more and do my artistic activities freely and I’d like to commute to my country as well and do my previous activities. But my main home will be the country I immigrate to and I’ll live in.
REM: How can you describe the presence of the Iranian woman in the fields of Art and Music?
Ajdamsani: Iranian women are very powerful. Despite the limitations, they’re never disappointed and they continue working and you always observe the Iranian women’s successes. But it’s really hard to do activities. There are a lot of limitations and prohibitions; on the other hand, there are stresses and concerns such as arrests and imprisonment, etc. by the officials.
REM: I am a literature researcher, and you are one of the famous pen-owners in Iran, so I will take the chance and ask you about the Feminist movements in Iranian literature. How can you describe it?
Ajdamsani: I’m one of those who defend women’s rights and fights in this regard with my art and I invite people to world peace and kindness and humanism and I’m known by this name. Fortunately, feminist movements are very good in Iran, but unfortunately, they’re not very effective. Our law and society violate women’s rights, even the simplest rights.
REM: If I asked you to describe your inner feelings in a few poetic lines, what would you say?
Ajdamsani: I have two poets named “Censorship” and “Dreamy World” and I dedicate those two to this question. And also my music album “Dreamy World” in collaboration with twelve countries and my English poetry collection named “Censorship” will be released soon. I urge your good audience to support the mentioned music. Finally, I thank you and your audience for this interview. I love the beautiful Egyptian culture, civilization, and art.
I close my eyes and walk into my dreamy world
There my homeland is the whole of the world
There is no boundary on the map
In all dictionaries, cage is an unknown word
All birds are free & singing peace songs
Somewhere that I & you are brothers
No weapons are born, no none at all
black & white are as pretty as
Yeah, there is our dreamy world
Yeah, there is our desired world
I play guitar & imagine myself there
All humans are equal & no gap is there
Kindness is the beginning word of the morning
& love is flowing from all of its rivers
There is no war, poverty & oppression
Anger and hate are unknown creatures
Give me your hands to make this dreamy world
that resonates from all of its temples
Love, peace & friendship songs
Yeah, there is our dreamy world
Yeah, there is our desired world
” Censorship “
This woman wants her right
She has silenced her shout
But not one can silence those eyes
The depth of what she sees
She screams her pain in musical notes
Strong and true
Do not censorship her
Her dreams, her thoughts, her voice
Her mighty wings, her heart, her choice
In dreams she flies
High over all
All that drags her down
Landing now atop the mountain
The peak of all she is
Do not ignore
Woman, her right, her goals
Edited by: NAyn & Maie Serage