iran magazine interview with mohammad motamedi

By :Mohammad Hossein Lavasani


Most of our musicians specially the singers, who are considered more than other artists in our   singer – based community, are known either by the number of their works from different ways like radio, TV or different albums or by their publishing of photos in written or virtual media in fact, for their introduction and use these ways more than their nature arts they own. But some get help from their own art or artistic characters to display themselves and gradually absorb their music fans and attract the opinions and cooperation of great and famous musicians and composers from the beginning and they are proud to introduce these artists to the musical world as an ability.

Our music has encountered innovation sickness!

Undoubtly, we can categorize Mohammad Motamedi in the second group, with his unique and beautiful sing. His sing with sensational plectrums of Mohammad Reza Lotfi and his performance with Khorshid ensemble , conducted by Majid Derakhshani, on one hand, and his singing with new and creative plectrums of Ali Ghamsari, on the other hand, is an evidence for our claim . We conducted an interview with Mohammad Motamedi .He was born in Kashan in 1978, lasted one hour. We talked about pop music from Maziar to Hami & Lohrasbi , and about creativity in music. The creativity which in his view has become a sickness in our music. However, talking about singing styles and imitation from Maestro Shajarian and position of music and sing was also in our interview. In addition , speaking about his works, trips and private interests and music players or his favorite singers was another part of the interview. Weakness of music instruments and singing and the quality of a singer’s works and, in general, our music and musicians and bad conditions of them in our country were also the other components of our interview. Text of the interview has been edited and  selected as follows :

– Mr. Motamedi , have you ever tried to sing a pop work when you are alone or in your private parties ?

-Actually No, not yet , I mean I have never thought about it when a singer sing in a certain and given style can’t sing in other styles and atmospheres.  As my intrinsic taste is in traditional music and sing , my larynx form and mimic can’t enter to another way of singing .

– What about listening to pop music?

– Yes , I listen and I like it .

– You only listen to our country pop music or foreign music also?

– Occasionally , I listen to the foreign music but I , d prefer our country pop music.

– Who is your pop music favorite singer in our country?

– I like Masier’s works.

– What about new generation of pop music singers?  Do you listen to any singer?

– Some time , yes . I think sense and depth of pop music today is less than before .  Of  course today there are also some good voices just like Mr. Hami or Mr. Lohrasbi who have beautiful voices.

– There had used to be some good triangles in our pop music atmosphere , i.e. , singer , composer and poet, Do you think this triangle exists today?

– Of course, this triangle has more sides, I mean square or multi sides , but it is important that ,the factors create a work have good interaction to each other and I think the key factor is to avoid selfishness and individuality to make a beautiful and permanent work.

– Let’s enter your field of sing, traditional and original Iranian  music. How much do you think the new generation of classical music singers could have absorbed people and young people?

– This question has two answers and can be viewed in two ways , we can either say it could have been successful as you can never see in the world that audiences come to listen to traditional or

classical music like in Iran, but I think the major part of this succeed refers to the last or two generations before of singers and musicians attempts , singers like Banan , Iraj , Golpayegani and Khansari to ,singers like Shajarian in the beginning of Islamic revolution and also artists like Lotfi, Meshkatian , Ali zadeh and after them Jalal Zolfonoon should be added to this group. But I think today music created in this space and atmosphere (classical) couldn’t have been able to absorb the listener’s satisfaction. Other reason is that producing music by an artist needs special conditions in his life and the artist should make a character inside himself to create  a good work. I think regarding to the life style and economic conditions today, these factors can’t be provided easily and I think our classical music has tended to become  a show or play and if we want to look at this issue specifically, it seems that about 90% of today music products which are provided as classical or traditional music are not original Iranian music and in fact the instruments are Iranian.

– And what do you think we should do to come over these problems and exit from this atmosphere?

– To create a good and proper artistic work you need thinking deeply but the artists today think more of absorbing audiences and listeners. Also, musicians or singers adopt their work to the society and listeners ‘ need in order to absorb more listeners.  I think what is lost here is a governmental support which we have never had. For example we don’t have any support organizations for musicians, for insurance or salary. If you go to insurance companies, the position and insurance of all other jobs is clear and there is no occupation called musician and even those who work in music are insured in other groups such as writers or teachers. That ‘s why a musician or artist has to earn money on his / her own and tries to do public and vulgar works to earn more and support his / her life.

– How much do you try to preserve and to be a good depositary for the classical and traditional style and how much try to have innovation?

– You see, we have a term in politics named fundamentalist and in my view should be used in music also and define a fundamentalist  artist . I think fundamentalist  in music means the principles of the music in our own country and a fundamentalist  musician is somebody who follows these principles exactly and creativity is valid under this framework but when you don’t regard to any definition or

principle, may be you can provide an innovative  work but that’s not compatible to any artistic and aesthetics in art and to any criterion or indication in original and classical music of Iran.

If a musician has creativity and innovation in a proper framework, then his art becomes like Mr. Alizadeh with high creativity and modernity and is one hundred percent Iranian music but if someone listens to any music and tries to import  it to his country music, that’s not a valuable work the value of your work is to do something that artists and musicians conform it. Creativity and innovation occur automatically and we can’t say that:” ok we  want to have creativity today ! what should we do ?” that ‘s not a proper way. Here in Iran every body insists on providing new and different works while all around the  world , musicians are playing their work. A part of creativity occurs  spontaneously and other parts relate to the artist but that’s not correct we say it’s a problem.

You see every body who talks about Iranian music says it needs changes and creativity but many things have been done and they don’t know and that’s a  habit  that they say Iranian music needs changes, and we can absolutely say that creativity and innovation has become a sickness in our music.

– What’s your opinion about the new positions formed in Iranian music,  for example works of Ali Qamsari?

– I think I pay attention to the principles in music very much but this does not mean that I disagree with new or creative works, but doing a new work form  has some limitation and I risk until a limited level and it is defined by my taste and my artistic sense. Ali Qamsari, in my view, is really a good and responsive artist in our music and his purpose is development in Iranian music. I have creativity and innovation till I believe my beliefs and opinions isn`t impaired at all.

– In our modern classical music, we see some changes such as Tahrirs (trills in voice) or singing pieces(opus) and music is moving to work on these changes . Howe do you evaluate these events? Is it referred to the innovation or other reasons?

– In any case, it happens automatically and it’s becoming now, you should notice that we are living in an atmosphere that people haven’t come to terms to music. After  the Islamic revolution, problems in other arts have been solved, for example before the Islamic revolution , if you would

go to the movies with the family that had been a big mistake because of the bad films of that time but after the revolution, cinema not only is not a problem for families but also is a valuable art, but this hasn’t happened in music yet , and nobody knows it as a valuable art and this is not only  a problem in music but also in our culture  and now regarding to these problems , our music is not supported and if a good work happens, we should thank our great and hard work artists and musicians who affect this art.

– What you say that Tahrirs (trills in voice) and singing pieces(vocal) in albums are decreasing, you think is a good and lucky event for our original and classical music , regarding to your faith to the principles?

– Notice that an artist should have strong sensors and sensitive sensors.  It  means that an artist should understand his / her listeners ‘ need both in a big scale (his/her time) and  in a concert . I mean when he / she feels that the atmosphere is sad and unhappy changes it immediately and makes an innovation, and in wider scale or in society an artist should adopt him / herself to the taste of people till the artistic criteria preserved in an artistic principle or framework, otherwise he / she has oppressed him / herself and people know if an artist doesn’t have such sensitivity or sensors or separates him / her from others, that’s a damage and a bad event and this is the beginning of the problems because he / she can’t recognize the taste of people or listeners . A musician should study and analyze the society taste.

If this happens, the artist can’t create a good or considerable work. One of the important reasons for decreasing the sings in our musical works refers to the quality of them. If we want to sing two verses to be permanent in our music world , we  must attempt twenty years for it and we don’t have such this attempt in our music.

Today, our artists have forgotten learning and attempts. Of course , this problem refers to the artists, on one hand and on the other hand material or financial problems cause them to think about earning more money rather than about creating a good work, and today the ability to sing well , a sing staying in minds, is less in singers and we encounter the lack of good musicians to deal with the sing well , so the atmosphere of sing and music has become boring but I believe that if sing and its music performed well, it will remain in the community as Iranian love sing , naturally and I hope to

prove it in the future. Mr. Lotfi noted in a meeting that our new singers only sing  opus they are not good vocalists. Of course singing opus is more simpler, every body with a low volume of voice and minimum rehearsal can sing the opus and on the other hand, a singer might see the society is thirsty to listen to  opus and then he says him self :” why I sing a work and spend much energy for a work with a few number of audiences or listeners?!”

– Now, in addition to suffer from bad conditions what other specification should be collected to create a permanent work?

– First of all a good work needs a good creator and a good creator should be a good artist naturally and in my opinion such an artist is a gift from God to that society , when a society sees an artist like Parviz Meshkatyan in it , it means that God has loved that society really much. All of his works are favorite and satisfied and even are the origin of the following musical flows after his time. So, that ‘s not right we invest some money on some people and after 4 years , 20 outstanding composers  appear, but the composer should appear by himself. And after that the conditions should be in such a way that the artist never becomes upset our depressed. Many artists have performed good works but after that they have become upset disappointed and take distance far away from their top works , some conditions and beds should be provided for them to create good works.

– Years ago , we met maestro Shajarian, he said that sing is not just a voice. How much do you think this intrinsic voice should be accompanied with technique or methods?

– Of course I think technique includes the voice and I guess maestro Shajarian meant the literature knowledge, how to use poems and trills and in fact, the intelligent mind of a singer. Once we have singers with good voices but no good intelligence , both in how to use their larynx and which works to select for singing and other parts refer to how to use voice and function and selection in that singer. A comprehensive singer is one who has a good voice, proper intelligence and an artistic talent or intelligence, and the most important is his/her personality completion. This completion and humanity is the most important and principal base in any work.

– We talked about Mr. shajarian and let’s talk a little about the current subject in our musical atmosphere of classical music and that’s a singer automatically sings just like Maestro Shajarian , what’s the reason? Is it enough to have singer properties that the maestro possesses them or there are other reasons for this event ? And how much did you try to avoid it ?

– Once I was asked this question and some misunderstanding happened , but now I answer this question more detailed, the reason. When teenagers aged l5 – 17  love to sing now or before , there is no comprehensive , complete or exact work other than maestro Shajarian ‘s works . When, for example, we went to attend in singing classes , most maestros taught the method he established. This is an advantage for maestro Shajarian and a defect for others not to be able to sing like him and of course he had a very big duty in a time and every body was looking at his works and he should have preserved and propagated this art. In fact, other singers didn’t have this attempt. It ‘s normal that any singer wants to be closer to such a singer. The other reason is that the other singing styles have hot been methodized. For example, in this singing style Taj Isfahani sings separately, it means that any student could sing in his own atmosphere or style while in maestro Shajarian ‘s style, every student should sing only in that manner or style and perform that range very exactly. Just like the method is in range creating there fore, the second reason for this imitation is non providing other teaching styles for other singing methods.

– How much did you try to keep away from this subject?

– I ‘ve been trying to create this distance because I have done that style and severely involved that, while I was interested in Adib or Iraj methods.

But my mouth form and my singing style were affected by maestro Shajarian and that’s why I tried to listened to other styles only.

– You mean one way to avoid imitation is to listen to other singing styles?

– In the beginning of your work, there is of course imitation, but listening to different styles and methods can help really well. I think a singer should listen to different singing styles such as Banan, Adib , Gopayegani and …

– Mr. Motamedi, I think we are talking very seriously, let’s keep away from this space. Which composer would you prefer to work with?

– My private taste is those who I could tend to music by them and they are normally my teachers in music. I tended to this kind of art by Mr. Lotfi and Alizadeh so I’m interested in co working with them.

– Which singers do you really like to listen ?

– Iraj , Zabahi (deceased) and Banan whose voices are unique and I can say they are dreamy.

– Whose voice or instrument of artists do you feel better to listen and do they affect your feelings well?

– Instrument sounds of Reza Varzande , Mohammad Reza Lotfi , Jalil shahnaz , parviz Yahaghi , Morteza Mahjobi and of course, Hassan Mahjoob and Ahmad Ebadi.

– If you want to teach one day, which style do you select for you learners?

– This is a subject that I think a bout it a lot and I’m thinking which method I should select for teaching regarding to the problems in this field to be useful for them. I think teaching is not an essential work for me now. And before I teach I should design a good and proper method which is useful to the learners.

-What other arts are you interested in? and if you have free time , how do you like to spend it ?

– If I have a free time, for example if I have a one year time, I will surely make a documentary film about nature or sociology .