Hanif Zarrabi-Kashani | 31 Jan 2014
In the past decade, the geo-political relationship between Iran and its South American ally Venezuela has largely been defined by two people, neither of whom hold political office anymore, and both of whom are largely absent from the public eye, albeit for different reasons.
But, the political and ideological connection created between former president’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez has given way to a cultural and socio-religious bond between their two countries, with the help of the Venezuelan electrocaribe band Bituaya. The group has dedicated its brand new song and music video titled, “Solos,” to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Based in Caracas, Bituaya’s music blends electronic sounds with Afro-Caribbean rhythms, hip-hop, and reggae.“Solos,” which translates as “alone” in Spanish, was directed by Iranian filmmaker Hossein Mokarrami and was shot over a three-day period inTehran in mid-October 2013 during the band’s visit to the Second Annual Latin American Cultural Festival held at the Venezuelan embassy. The purpose of the festival was to introduce the culture and traditions of Venezuela to Iranians through the arts.
The video for “Solos” was officially released online on January 20, 2014, and its cinematography beautifully captures street scenes in Tehran in a way complimented by the Spanish lyrics.
The video is bursting with colorful visual shots of the band’s members , as well as Tehran’s famous landmarks, such as Milad Tower, the packed halls of the Grand Central Bazaar, Azadi Tower, the artsy Friday Bazaar near the money changing district, and boulevards full of automobile traffic. The video includes a “selfie” shot of Bituaya’s lead singer, as he weaves through Tehran’s main thoroughfares on the back of a motorbike. Band members sport Faravahar necklaces and prayer beads around their necks (Faravahar is a winged-symbol associated with Zoroastrianism, but has remained a common symbol throughout ancient and modern Iranian history), while others wear Basij style kafieh’s (scarf).
Demonstrating their respect for Iran’s Islamic culture, band members not only shot scenes in front of a mosque, but actually prayed alongside Iranian men inside the crowded mosque during prayer services.
One might expect this group of “foreigners” to have a “tourist’s” perspective on Iranian society, but this is far from the case. The manner in which Bituaya and its talented young director visualize Iranian culture and society is flat out impressive.
On the band’s SoundCloud page, lead singer Piki Figueroa explains his desire to create the song and video in order to communicate peace, solidarity, brotherhood, and love: “In the song we talk about people that are misinformed and how they think Iran and Venezuela are alone and suffer under dictatorships, but we’re not alone, because of the support of other countries like Iran.”
During their visit to Iran, Bituaya toured and performed in three different cities including Shiraz where the band performed in front of a packed audience at Hafez Hall. A clip of the performance reveals both male and female audience members clapping and cheering the band on stage. Watch the official video of Bituaya’s latest song “Solos” below or visit the YouTube page here.
Joseph Podrasky | 31 Jan 2014
As I sat eating dinner in Tripoli on Wednesday evening, I heard a loud explosion nearby. In another country I may have been surprised, even worried, but that evening I had been expecting it. The explosion was quickly followed by the sound of revving engines, fireworks, cheering, and, of course, more explosions. It seemed that the entire city had flooded into the streets to celebrate Libya’s victory against Zimbabwe to advance to the African Nations Championship final tomorrow.
Not long after the streets were filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic, though nobody seemed to care. Young boys and girls hung out of windows, waving flags as scooters zipped in between the rows of cars. The air was thick with smoke due to hundreds of fireworks.
At one point, I saw two cars stopped in the middle of the street. When I looked down I noticed the tri-colored Libyan flag on the pavement. I realized they were refusing to disgrace the flag by driving over it. One young man stepped into the street to pick it up and held it high to the cheers of everyone.
Personally, as the new owner of a Libyan flag watch, I can understand the enthusiasm.
The final against Ghana, which advanced after beating Nigeria on Wednesday, is at 18:00 GMT on Saturday, February 1.