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3- “O Iran, O Bejeweled Land!”; the anthem of “Ey Iran”: Singing nationalism, transcending nationhood – Nasim Ahmadian, University of Alberta

9:00 AM, Sunday 26 May 2019 (2 hours)
Coffee break   11:00 AM to 11:30 AM (30 minutes)
The dark political climate of Iran in 1944 during the ‘Anglo-Soviet Invasion’ prompted the scholar-poet Hossein Gol-e-Golab and the composer Ruhollah Khaleghi to express the ideals of patriotism through composing the anthem of “Ey Iran” (“O Iran”). The composition was to become the most popular musical symbol of the Iranian nation. “Ey Iran” was never confirmed officially as the national anthem by the state, either before or after the 1979 Iranian revolution, and in fact was banned for years by the Pahlavi and the Islamic Republic regimes. Yet the song has better embodied Iranians’ voice of patriotism than the official national anthems during the last 70 years. Iranians in Iran and diaspora reach for it in every national event and present it as the most prominent symbol of Iranian nation for their political resistance. What does a song’s life in the past say about people’s lives in the future? How does an unofficial national song transcend the national ties and time in which it was defined? In this paper, by comparative look at “Ey Iran” and the Islamic Republic’s current official anthem through analyzing their musical and semantic frames, I discuss various levels of Iranian nationalism, the historicized national identity and their relation to the aesthetic traditions of the unofficial anthem which are dominant in the socio-political context of Iran.
University of Alberta
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