Dariush Eghbali: Iran's Frank Sinatra? - داريوش.


We continue today with another post, but this one
for me at least, is going to be so special. After leaving Bahrain; this small island-state in the Persian Gulf (or, Arabian Gulf), we head towards the east to a land of musical diversity and history: Iran (إيران). Bahrainis are mostly Iranians by ethnicity. One in four Bahrainis speaks fluent Farsi. Our artist today is a figure of love and peace around the world, true, but he's much loved by Bahrainis as well as Arabs in particular (include me here).

On hindsight, I knew fer sure that this post was going to be the hardest blog-post that I'm going to do so far because I really admire today's singer, so much that I have no words to describe him: he's beyond words. There aren't any words fair enough; devoutly-just that could be used in a proper manner to even try and begin to describe this great legend in such a small place as a web-blog's window box.

So, allow me to give you my best shot at blogging about Dariush Eghbali.


(alternate spellings are Darius, Daryush, Daryoush, Dariyush, Daruosh, Darvish. Full real-name: Pedarash Mahmode Eghbali).
The always 'smoking-cool' Dariush.
For Dariush one becomes wordless, shtoom... silent. Only for his voice to keep itself in one's back-mind. His great voice is simply magic. I have sweet memories of that time when I first got introduced to his music by mere chance. And, then grew from just a listener to a faithful admirer. Now I reckon that Dariush lives somewhere in the deepest recesses of my heart this 'Sultan' of Persian music, this great man. How beautiful were those moments!
Dariush Eghbali  - داريوش اقبالي

Dariush when he was just a kid.
This great Iranian singer was born in Tehran on the 4th of February 1951, but the middle years of his early life were spent with his family on an island. His father Mahmode Eghbali was a well-known landlord who took the family to Karj (خارک), an island that sits 25kms from the Iranian coast on the north-eastern side of the Persian Gulf. Then, the family moved again almost 1000kms faraway to to the north Mianeh/Meyaneh in the East Azerbaijan Province. These early childhood travels had a grave effect on Dariush as he always thought of himself as a traveler (مسافر) through this transient life.
Dariush School picture.
The story of the early days of his musical career is still an enigma, but his first singing career steps were taken for the first time at the age of 9 in a school celebration-play called Shahrara ('The Spark') as it went on stage. Likewise in high school (Dbyrstanhayy Farabi), in Tehran he spent his time doing art school paid-programs. Hassanpour Khayat Bashi (a famous Iranian film director, T.V. producer and singer, too), saw the young man singing around Tehran's clubs where the young Dariush has finally settled in his early twenties in the late 60's and worked on the young singer's image because Dariush's voice was just spotless.

In his early singing career - early 70's.
That was Dariush's official entry into professional music in 1970 with a song he sang on a T.V. music show (Don't Tell Me You Love Me - آیا به من بگو عاشقمی). In the same year that he got on T.V. he made a song again called 'I Do Not Like to be Famous'. It is worth mentioning that Dariush, on the other hand, had a serious face (which got deformed later on by a nutcase fan who threw acid-water at him in late 70's).

Early picture of Dariush.
This made it plausible for directors to give him lead roles in their over-emotional films that were very popular back in the 70's. The early, so-called 'pre-revolutionary' times in Iran weren't any better than those post-revolution ones: the Shah's reign was known as a tyranny, but Iranians were able at least to keep a colourful lifestyle like any in the west. Singers with stage names such as 'Bobby' were carbon-copy prints of Elvis (ergh, Bobby Daren, maybes?) and a bunch more of these idiots saw some minor fame in the 60's, issuing their super-hits (سوبر هايت) records for a healthy music market in and out Tehran the capital.
Dariush Eghbali circa 1971.
Bashi's intention was to make another film star, but much to his surprise, Dariush became popular for being a singer when he sang his first song live on that popular T.V. show which was the norm. Oddly enough, Dariush wasn't discovered by another, more infuelntial T.V. presenter and producer Fereydoun Farrokhzad (who made famous such rising singers like Sattar, Ebi, Shohreh, Morteza, to name but a few).
The trio of Dariush, Keivan, and Afshin. 1973.
Dariush, on the other hand, sang his songs like nobody else did: wonderful, serene, heart-rending, love songs that didn't have that usual western influence to them, or what some call rather stupidly psych-funk beats. Dariush also played with other artists, and in the very beginning he formed a trio with singers Keivan and Afshin. He also sang in other trios with Atabi, Riza, Bahrouz, and duets with female stars like GooGoosh, Ramesh, Marjan etc. But, his most dramatically touching work is when he sings as a soloist. In one word? I really have none to describe it. God, it's sheer joy.

The real Iranian stars: GooGoosh and Dariush (Darioosh).

The songs were purely Iranian: neither old, nor new in style. That set him apart as something else like Frank Sinatra was in the west singing power 'croon' ballads in a modern way. His songs were catching popularity far speedier than most of those other also-popular singers because for Dariush, the best poets stood behind him, and gave him their lyrics to put to song knowing that their poems would start to take to life once Dariush's mouth started singing them. Few other Iranian singers like Fereydoun Foroughi shared this with Dariush as his brother was a famous Iranian poet.

Fereydoun, Ramesh, Dariush.
The Shah with his wife, Farah.
Most people weren't satisfied with the status quo and rule of the Shah; truly and probably, that's why every Iranian singer sang crypto-revoultionary songs to denounce this monarchy renowned for its lavish life, and fuckspensive extravagant spending. Even communist University students used to sing these in the mid-70' at the height of the anarchic student movement that swept the entire world a few years before. These singers and students got jailed by the Shah's security forces and most of the singers started to flee the country in numbers even before the Islamic revolution came after the killing of Khomeini's son Mostafa in 1977.

The revolutionary Islamist Guards.
These songs were books of poetry in all actuality: every word in these songs was put with utter care; every metaphor, simile, couplet was begging for its deserving singer to make them shine and resonate with life. Most of these singers were jailed for being such adventurous revolutionaries and both, Dariush and Fereydoun were jailed by the SAVAK (ساواک: Iran's C.I.A. arm) during the reign of the Shah of Iran Mohammed Riza Pahlavi before he got thwarted.
Dariush Eghbali.
That was very destructive to music and all sorts of arts. Then, it all began all over again when the Ayatoullah Rouhllah Khomeini took the ruling seat (Note: he's a Shii'te cleric leader who was brought by C.I.A. and French intelligence to power from his exile imposed on him by the Shah in Paris in an Air-France jet in 1978 so that the western powers could put their hands on Iran's resources which they still control, regardless of all the spinformation the media tries to throw your way these days about Iran's nuclear weapons threat which is just a sham), and then after the coup, Iran turned its head away from art and music. Unfortunately, the story still continues today.
Dariush on T.V., 1976.
Music-wise, Dariush also drank from the same ancient conium that is Persian devotional poetry: he didn't sing only patriotic, nationalistic songs, but took his words from more than one poet like Jalaludeen El-Rumi, Hafiz Ahmad, Nader, Shamloo and collaborated with Ahmad Pejman, Mohammad Shams, Farid Zoland, Varojan and many other innovative and avant-garde lyricists, musicians, and composers to make music.
The best singer at his best.
His works took stem and shape from lyrics of pious never-heard men like Naderpour, Jannati Ataei, and Bayat Ghanbari, and unknown, poor poets like Simin Behbahani, Ardalan Sarfaraz Hussain, Shahyar Ghanbari and Iraj Jannati. He called upon the words of Galilee and Farid Zealand, composers Babak Bayat, Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh, Hassan and also worked with other less-known composers like Shamaizadeh and Babak Afshar.

Live on Iranian T.V..
This was due to his songs being not only sung about his love for his country that became the feast for colonialist powers and minority Shii'tes (they make only 47% of the population, by the way), but also about love and lovers, lost promises, broken hearts, and vacant souls. These themes were a constant humane necessity written through the ages in a place like Iran so rich with its history of ageless art and passionate poetry. But, after the Islamic Revolution (1976-1978), and when Iran became an 'allegedly' Islamic Republic (جمهوري إسلامي إيران), the ban of all pop music, songs, bands, halls, records, poetry, art, artists, you name it... put a curb on Dariush's work, so he decided that the time was ripe to move again, this time leaving his native beloved homeland alltogether in October, 1978 for England returning back only in 1985.
Dariush Eghbali in the late 70's.
His 25 albums are all on record: an evidence of his exceptional work and devotion to music. Dariush has starred also in two Iranian films: "The Friends" (Yaran), and "The Cry Under Water" (Faryad Zir Abe). His films were honoured recently by a festival for Dariush hailed by the organizers in nearby Bahrain as "Iran's representative for contemporary music" and was awarded the Highest Peace Trophy as a token for his efforts for world peace. Dariush has been giving concert after concert in recent years outside of Iran in places like the U.S., England, Germany, Canada, France, Holland, and has performed concerts in Japan.

Yaran film Poster.
Cry Under Water Poster.
These works of art still resonate with his 'trill-like' voice, and unbelievably beautiful arrangements. Some of his songs are bitter-sweet melodies sung by a pained heart. His heart. This man was truly Iran's best singer ever. And, his voice is still enjoyed by millions of Iranians all across the world, wherever they might be far from their homeland and beloved Iran, Dariush's voice reminds them of it.

Dariush Eghbali: The 'real' Iran.
This man's entire being was singing the words of the poems, until he himself became the poem. Dariush is not just a singer: he is the love that stood the hardships of an Iran that got torn after so many years of colonialist and extremist tyranny. Not a single Iranian hates Dariush's music. He is loved by every one. He is a poem. He is the song of Iran. He is the real Iran. That's him.

Singer and the love of Iran, Dariush.

-His Addiction:
Dariush after the attack.
Dariush and wife Venos, receiving
the Rev.Ronald L. Wright's
Award in 2005.
He was addicted to morphine after he was hospitalized from second-degree burns from a fan's attack. At that time (and according to his story) Dariush had little familiarity with any drugs. He overcame addiction and wanted to be active at combating drug addiction, and therefore worked with the Ayeneh Foundation which he himself helped establish and the Iranian Recovery Center. He came to personal levels with the help-recovery and recovery process of addicts and founded a chat site called Xerxes, plus his organization's own website-chat and help-line behboudichat.com. The foundation has already helped forty-thousand addicts who have addictions in Iran alone. He was awarded the Ron Simmons And Rev.Ronald L. Wright's Award for his distinguished efforts. Dariush is a member of AI (Amnesty International), and still through his voice, fights the shadows of evil, power, drug-abuse, poverty throughout the world.

Dariush singing in the 70's.
I hope that this post has shed some light on Dariush Eghbali's life, music, and accomplishments. He's a married man now who lives with his wife Venos, and beautiful little daughter Melad.
Dariush Eghbali in the 80's.
I know one thing 'nd one thing I know... Dariush himself is the best. Really. Dariush has no 'best-hits' and all that crap. His songs are the best. Down 'ere you will find 8 of his albums. Yeah, you heard that right. And to cover the whole nine yards (as one Americanism goes...), his Singles are to be found, too. Bonus, I hear? A separate single-album (Ahay Mardome Donya).

Dig it, babes!

Download all the 8 albums and singles from here.

F.n.: Some lyrics and a few video clips are to be found here complete with various downloadable links. Sadly, Dariush's official website is down at the moment, but do dig this humble homage to such a great icon of art, love, and music here and only here at Audiotopia.

Lots of love!



Crafty C said...

This is really an incredible post. Thank you for all the music and the background.

highplainsdrifter said...

This is amazing. I'm mesmerized. Thanks for introducing me to Dariush and all these other artists. I won't be leaving my computer for the next day or two.

Also, the writing is really top notch...great story lines which serve as a wonderful backdrop to the music.

I hope you keep going with this blog as I continue to discover your back logs.

Fantastic, essential work your doing here.

Anonymous said...

I am astonished at the wealth of material you provide, the attention to detail, and the obvious love you feel for the music you describe--not to forget, the music itself, so that everybody may share in these performances. Thanks for a truly phenomenal site.

bwana said...

this was a revelation for me, having only heard 5-6 Darius traxx - your blog is a treasure. Hust a curious detail: it is impossiblr to download Zendooni. Could it be corrupt or soemthing? I never experienced any problem with all your other files. Best regards! Iraklis from Athens

Anonymous said...

Hello! I've been reading your blog for a long time now and finally
got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx!
Just wanted to mention keep up the good job!

Hammer said...

Thanks, Anonymous, 'preesh that.

Sadly, keeping up the good job is a bit hard as I refrained from blogging more than a year ago.

Stay tuned, nonetheless.


Unknown said...

Wow! Dariush! Our Dariush! Nice to know Dariush is know outside Iran.
BTW, I appreciate both your enthusiasm and vast knowledge of world music. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I would like to know about the acid attack incident in detail.