Iran: Banned music legend may sing again

21 April 2016

Mohammad Reza Shajarian
Mohammed Reza Shajarian has been known as Iran’s “king of singing” for his renditions of classical poems and religious prayers; however, since he publicly supported the Green Movement against Ahmadinejad in June 2009, Shajarian found himself the victim of a nation-wide ban, unable to perform live or release music.

Now, at 76, Shajarian has announced, via a message on YouTube on 19 March 2016, he has been battling kidney cancer for the last 15 years and positive messages have poured in for the famed singer and a lifting of his ban may also be in the works, reported Al-Monitor on 10 April 2016.

According to the online news site, the new director general Farzad Talebi of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance Music Department had said that they “will do their best to remove the obstacles in the way of Shajarian’s activities so that people can have access to his works of art”.

For more than 30 years Shajarian was known for his rendition of the Rabanaa – or Shajarian’s prayer – which was broadcast annually on national television during Ramadan, signalling to viewers that it was time to break their fast.

Photo from artist’s website


» Al-Monitor – 10 April 2016:
Will Iran’s king of singing come back to the Iranian stage?

» Tehran Times – 3 April 2016:
Persian traditional music legend Mohammadreza Shajarian battling cancer

» Rudaw – 22 March 2016:
Iran’s iconic singer Shajarian hints at cancer, refers to illness as ‘old friend’

» Al-Monitor – 7 May 2015:
Classical singer claims performance ban in Iran

» The Guardian – 10 July 2013:
Iran listen for Mohammed-Reza Shajarian, the lost voice of Ramadan

Related information

» – 4 November 2015:
Iran: 26 popular singers banned from performing

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