Chris de Burgh’s visit to Iran created a media frenzy in Iran and around the world.
He flew in to Tehran on Wednesday and left on Thursday.
Chris de Burgh had been invited by the Taraneh Sharghi Cultural and Artistic Company, an institution that releases the works of Iranian pop band Arian, which has recorded the song “A Light for Eternity” with de Burgh.
British singer Chris de Burgh attends a news conference at a cultural center in northern Tehran May 28, 2008. (Mehr/Sara Sassani)
They plan to perform a series of concerts at Tehran’s Azadi Sports Complex in October or November. However, they are still waiting for Iranian cultural officials to approve the program.
Music bands must receive performing licenses from the Music Office of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for their concerts.
In a press conference at the Taraneh Sharghi office last week, Arian manager Mohsen Rajabpur promised that de Burgh would give concerts in Iran.
He said that the Music Office had previously announced that “there will be no problem for the concerts of the pop singer.”
Rajabpur referred to the humanitarian aspect of de Burgh’s songs to justify the plan and convince skeptical Iranian cultural officials to approve it. Meanwhile, several concerts of Iranian pop singers have been cancelled by the Music Office over the past year, allegedly because performing licenses were not issued.
If they can win over the officials, the program would be the first of its kind in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
This should be regarded as a good omen for Iran’s entertainment scene, although it has come very late -- de Burgh was popular in Iran during the 1980s.
That generation is now approaching middle age and thus must work long hours to keep the wheels of life rolling, which leaves no time for entertainment.
They also don’t feel nostalgic about the old days because music was like a taboo in Iran back then. Due to the restricted atmosphere of the time, they listened to records furtively circulated among friends and their circle of schoolmates.
However, times have changed and the new generation’s taste in music and entertainment differs from their predecessors, who mostly were interested in songs by de Burgh and foreign bands such as Modern Talking.
Young people do not listen to this kind of music anymore. They prefer to listen to rap, hip hop, techno, and heavy metal as well as pop singers working openly or underground in Iran.
However, it would not be so bad for them to experience a de Burgh live promenade concert, which would provide an atmosphere in which they could release some energy in ways usually not tolerated by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
It seems that Rajabpur and the Taraneh Sharghi staff will have to spend many difficult days striving to convince the Culture Ministry to allow the dream of de Burgh concerts to come true.
De Burgh said at the press conference, “This has been a dream of mine since I was a little boy… I am here to see and play for people.”
This reminds us of the lyrics of his song “Sailing Away”: “I was just a boy dreaming of the wide world.”