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Mohsen Namjoo

Mohsen Namjoo, (Persian: محسن نامجو‎), is an Iranian musician, singer-songwriter. born in 1976 in Torbat-e Jam, a small town in northeastern Iran. His unique style of music is influenced by Blues and Rock as well as Iranian folk music. The lyrics of his songs are also odd combination of Persian classical poems, his own lyrics, and contemporary poems; and uses the words freely with irony and sarcasm to carry the music and make a free style of singing. The New York Times called Namjoo "Iran's Bob Dylan". Namjoo was born in Iran in a Muslim family. When he was one year old, his family moved to Mashhad where he lived until the age of 18. His father, Mohammad Hossein Namjoo, died when he was 12. His family encouraged him to start attending music classes in classical Persian vocal music.  In 1994 he studied Music at University of Tehran in addition to taking some theater classes. In 1997, Namjoo quit the music program explaining that he found their teaching methods and material a repetition of what he has learned before and as a result would not benefit him. Namjoo also studied Iranian folk music. He is also familiar with Western musical styles, particularly blues and rock.

In late 1997 and early 1998, Namjoo had his first two concerts, themed "modern combination of Iranian poetry and music". In 2003 he started recording parts of his own works in Tehran. His debut album titled Toranj was officially released in Iran in September 2007. He also composed soundtracks for movies and plays.

He was featured in the documentary Sounds of Silence (directed by Amir Hamz and Mark Lazarz] which has been screened at international film festivals. He also appeared in a feature narrative film called Few Kilograms of Dates for the Funeral (Director Saman Saloor), played in various film festivals.

In 2006 he was sentenced in absentia to a five-year jail term for allegedly ridiculing the ash-Shams, a sura of Quran in the song named "Shams" by Iranian courts. The conviction took place in spite of his formal apology. After establishing in the West, he sang this song in his Oy album as a single.

Namjoo's first performance outside Iran was in January 2006 at the Tehran Hotspot of the International Rotterdam Film Festival where he played solo. Mohsen Namjoo performed his first live TV concert on the Persian News Network of Voice of America for the Norouz event for the celebration of Persian new year on Saturday, March 20, 2010.

In 2010, Namjoo kicked off his "A Minor" tour with a new band ensemble centered around some of his most popular and courageous songs. In June they performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California (US). In October they performed at the Sony Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Mohsen Namjoo also released a single titled "Such Strange Times" in June, a song sung in English.

In summer of 2012, Namjoo is going to release his new album 13/8. Thirteen/eight is a compilation of six pieces by Mohsen Namjoo, which were developed in the United States during the past year. The performance has been prepared in collaboration with California-based musicians James Riotto (Contrabass), Robert Shelton (Keyboard), Ezra Lipp (Drums) and Greg Ellis (Percussion). Payam Entertainment produced a series of live performances for 2012. The inaugural performance in Berkeley, California will be recorded in preparation for a future double-album release by the same title.

He also writes poetry, and sometimes uses his own satirical lyrics in his songs blended with the classical poetry of Hafez, Rumi or Saadi. His music and words are very emotional and, in his works, he creates a fusion of various styles from traditional Iranian to blues and rock.

Discography

Studio albums   
  • Toranj (September 2007)     
  • Jabr-e Joghrafiyaei (2008)     
  • Oy (October 2009)     
  • Useless Kisses (February 2011)  
Live album
  • Alaki (December 2011)     
  • 13/8 (2012)  
Singles
  • Strange Times (2010)  
Audiobooks
  • The Alchemist (by Paulo Coelho), produced by Caravan (publishing), 2008

Source: www.en.wikipedia.org

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