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About Mohsen Namjoo
Mohssen Namjoo's music is best known for two facts: combining Persian (Iranian) traditional music with western music (Jazz, Blues and Rock) leading to intelligently-arranged assimilative music and a whole new way of singing, latter being the point he has been very criticized upon.
Namjoo was born in 1976, in small city of Torbat-e-Jam in northeast of Iran, but grew up in Mashhad. Torbat-e-Jam is best known for its dotar (a traditional Iranian music instrument) players. He began to learn Iranian traditional music at the age of twelve, after death of his father--which widely affected his life. He started his studies in traditional Iranian singing (avaz) under supervision of Nassrolah Nasseh-Pour in courses organized by Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Mashhad. After six years, eventually he completed the repertoire of Iranian traditional singing. In 1994 he entered the University of Dramatic Arts in Tehran as he was offered a position to study Theatre. A year after, in 1995 he joined the undergraduate music program at Tehran University where he was a student of some professional music instructors. During the days of studying music he also got familiar with western music. His music is essentially influenced by Jim Morrison, Chris Issak, Mark Knopfler, The Doors, Leonard Cohen and others.
Namjoo started to write music in early 90's. He has composed up to 100 pieces of music thus far nine of which have been published by Barbad Music in his first official album Toranj in 2007. He is also a lyricist but in most songs of Toranj, he has mainly preferred to use poets from great Iranian traditional poems like Hafez, Rumi and Sa`di. An interesting point about Namjoo's songs is that for even a Persian who listens to his music for the first time the words may be slightly hard to understand! It is totally because of his unique way of performing the vocals. This point is what many critics have criticized him upon. Some conservative people may find his way of singing, which often turns out to be quite strange and funny during a song, rude to Persian literature while others may find his efforts very intimate. As he himself states in a documentary made based on his life, his music is all about tearing apart taboos and experiencing new moulds. As far as Namjoo's music in concerned, it is obvious that he has proper affinity with both Persian and western music. He also has the courage to mix them.
Namjoo has also had some international performances up to now. He performed at a concert which was part of Tehran Hotspot at Rotterdam International Film Festival at Ro theatre as well as in couple of some other events in Utrecht, Venice, Rome (Academy of Fine Arts) and Paris (La Baline Balanche). In addition, he has composed music for number of Iranian short films, animations and plays since 1995. ~ Pouya Partovi