Oral Memories Related to the Familiar Revolution Music

Freedom Shout

Reyhaneh Mohammadi
Translated by Zahra Hosseinian

2020-05-26


Ahmad Ali Ragheb is a composer whose revolutionary songs are more known than himself. The post-revolutionary generation has grown up with his songs, from "Schools have got opened" and "Hello Classmate" to the orchestral pieces like "Freedom Shout", "The Holy Shahid", "America, Shame on Your Deceit" and "Blessed Be This Victory". In collaboration with Hamid Sabzevari and Mohammad Golriz, he is one of the less-known side of a golden triangle which created many memories of Islamic Revolution music in the national media.

Freedom Shout book is a compilation of twenty conversations and six specialized interviews with Ahmad Ali Ragheb, which are done by Mehdi Chitsaz and Morteza Ghazi, and written by Mohsen Safaei Fard. The book has been compiled in six chapters and a detailed appendix.

The book begins with narrator's childhood memories and introduction of his family. In chapter one titled "The Voice of Sea and Forest," Ahmad Ali Ragheb introduces his parents and recounts his memories of childhood in Gilan. After that, he describes the activities of his youth, which include from studying, teaching, and writing articles in the Gilan press to attending at ‘Culture and Art’ orchestra of Gilan and experiencing group playing. At the end of this chapter, he relates the story of his arrest and interrogation by SAVAK in Gilan.

The second chapter, "Here is Tehran, the voice of Iran", begins with the story of how Ragheb immigrated to Tehran in the late winter of 1971. Then, he explains how he had been accepted in college entrance exam and then found his way to the radio. Also he describes how he had been observed by SAVAK at this time. In the following, he recounts memories of how he met Siavash Zendegani, how he served in the army, traveled abroad, and collaborated with the People's Culture Center.

In the third chapter titled, "Voice reaches its peak (1978-1980)", Ahmad Ali Ragheb's artistic professional activities are dealt with. In this chapter, he explained how he composed his first song, "Martyr teacher", its idea was formed after Dr. Shariati’s death in 1977, and it was broadcasted several times before the revolution because of its theme of elegy for teacher. Then, the narrator's activities during the days of revolution, such as the termination of his collaboration with radio after September 8 incident, his acquaintance with Shahid Majid Haddad Adel, forming an anthem group in Sepahsalar Mosque, and the story of first underground songs during that period are reviewed.

Also, the events of Imam Khomeini's arrival, the victory of the Islamic Revolution and general cleaning of radio by people are narrated in chapter three. Then, the way of Ragheb's return to radio and the production of works such as "Khomeini, O Imam", "Rise Up" and "Veterans of the Revolution" have been mentioned, as well as the fact that there were reactions against the musicians who worked in the radio music unit. Also, the story behind each song composed by Ahmad Ali Ragheb at that time, such as "Welcome our Imam", "Freedom shout", "Dad gave blood", "O Shahid" and "Shahid Mofateh" are described, while the story of "The Holy Shahid" and the events related to it have also dealt with. In this chapter, after stating what music the Imam liked, how to write the original melody of "The Holy Shahid" song, the process of composing this work and its subsequent rumor that Imam Khomeini did not approve it, are noted and then the denials which were broadcasted in Television news, and Imam's interviews about the rumor.

Ragheb considers the 1st of May, the day of Motahhari’s martyrdom, as the most effective day of his life, because at this day, which is also his birthday, he composed a song that has brought here all the music of post-revolution. Following this chapter, the story of meeting of creators of "The Holy Shahid", including Ragheb, Sabzevari, Golriz and Majid Haddad Adel, with Imam Khomeini is narrated in full. The story of other songs which have been composed for Shahid Motahhari, as well as the new arrangement and technical and formal analysis of "The Holy Shahid" song has followed. This chapter ends up with the story behind songs such as "America, Shame on Your Deceit", "Nawab Safavi", "Raja’s way is not closed" and how 72 songs were composed in the anthem unit of the Islamic Republic Party and also the support of Shahid Beheshti and music training in the office of then president (Ayatollah Khamenei).

In chapter four, "This Voice Will Not Be Silenced", Ahmad Ali Ragheb recounts his memories and the story of formation of songs during the imposed war. A memoir about the day the war began on September 22, 1980, opens up this chapter. Then, the birth of war music are described and the story of composition of first war song entitled "Whales of the Seas". This chapter continues with experiencing Kurdish and Arabic war music, deployment to war zones, transferring to radio and television, the absence of war pop music, organizational changes to strengthen war music, and the activities of non-radio artists related to war music.

The narration of composition the most surprising war song, "Blessed be this victory" and broadcasting it on 24th May 1982 coincides with the liberation of Khorramshahr, and then how to compose anthems such as "O God, save Khomeini until Mehdi’s revolution", "Fight to victory", and some songs for funeral of martyrs are other examples which have been described in chapter four. In addition, techniques for composing lasting works, as well as the story of narrator’ marriage have been dealt with in this chapter.

Chapter five, "Post-War Broadcasting", deals with issues such as the lack of uniformity in officials' view to music in society, the difference between IRIB and The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and the story of composing songs such as "A Song for Simple Life", "Relief", "song of Sarajevo". Pop albums and songs such as "Garden of Watching", "Dance of Flowers", "Flowers grow in Garden", "Hedge", "Koarshim", "Qalandar", "Voice of Love", and "Tears of Moonlight" have also been narrated. The story of retirement and membership in the UNESCO Council also concludes this chapter.

In chapter six, "Scattered Essays on the Principles and Philosophy of Music", you can read subjects such as, Secrets of Ritual Music, Artist Definition, Death of Mahour, About Melody of Hejaz, Poetry as the Basis of Revolutionary Music, Music on Golestan Saadi's Musical Prose, About Music of ‘Muhammad: The Messenger of God’ Movie, Quasi-political Songs Before the Revolution, as well as the United States and the acquisition of Iranian culture. The end of the book is a one-hundred-page appendix which includes press interviews with the narrator, lyrics, anthems and songs, album covers, books, letter of appreciation, and photo albums.

From the third chapter onwards, in the margins of pages related to the story of various songs, readers can use ‘QR code’ through the augmented reality software on cell phones in order to listen to the audio parts of these songs. The first edition of "Freedom Shout" by attempt of Oral History Unit of Islamic Revolution Cultural Front Studies Office was published in 1000 copies and a price of Rls. 420,000 in the winter of 2019.

 



 
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Oral Memories Related to the Familiar Revolution Music

Freedom Shout

Ahmad Ali Ragheb is a composer whose revolutionary songs are more known than himself. The post-revolutionary generation has grown up with his songs, from "Schools have got opened" and "Hello Classmate" to the orchestral pieces like "Freedom Shout", "The Holy Shahid", "America, Shame on Your Deceit" and "Blessed Be This Victory". In collaboration with Hamid Sabzevari and Mohammad Golriz, he is one of the less-known side of a golden triangle which created ...
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