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Buskers Get a Voice
Art And Culture

Buskers Get a Voice

Although many governments have accepted busking as a legal job, there are still countries where street performance is categorized as “fake business” and even outlawed.
Street artists perform in public places for gratuities, in most cases money or food. Busking is particularly associated with singing or playing music and is practiced by men, women and children, and dates back to antiquity.
In Iran, buskers are not given much attention despite the fact there is a large pool of talented performers who would have a brilliant future if they received sufficient support.
Rising to the occasion is young vocalist and composer, Pourya Heydari, and several of his artist friends, who are among the first group of people to have taken the initiative to provide some sort of help to street performers with the potential to improve their musical skills.
“This is a philanthropic movement that I’ve started to help needy talented children so as to bring about a change in their lives,” Heydari told the Financial Tribune.
“Among the street performers in the capital are labor children, some of whom earn their livelihoods by playing music and singing. Benefactors and donors seem to be less aware of these children and mostly prefer to contribute to charity foundations,” he noted.
Labor children are far more exposed to air pollution and diseases because they work in hazardous situations. Heydari believes working children need as much help as sick kids.
“The movement started on the social application Telegram. I sent a short clip asking the people to record a 1-minute video clipping of children and young adults, under the age of 18, who perform music in the streets or in public transport such as buses or metro trains. If people enjoy the performance and find there is talent in them, they can get in touch with me.” The video clips can be sent to the email address at mahoor.org@yahoo.com.

 Special Venue for Training
With financial support from Tehran Municipality and several benefactors, a special venue will be provided for the selected performers to receive formal music instructions and training.
Explaining the criteria of selection, Heydari said there is no entrance exam and performers will be evaluated based only on the submitted video clips. The selected children will receive all the support and facilities for their training, free of charge.”
Heydari hoped the venue would become a permanent workshop, so that the initiative could continue permanently.
Training in workshops and introducing them to popular music bands in the future are the objectives of the group for the young street performers.
Support for adult buskers will also be taken up but through other organizations. Among the adult street singers there are graduates in music and those who perform at musical events, but they have chosen to perform in the streets due to the lack of opportunities at social and cultural events.
Heydari said his vocalist and composer friend, Fazel Jamshidi and head of Iran Music House, Kambiz Roshan-Ravan are striving for health and retirement insurance cover for talented adult street performers.
“Like any other employee, they have the right to receive some pension later on in life.”
To a query on how many children have been introduced so far, he said the clips received up to now have not met the criteria of the group’s talent search.
But he was confident that given time, the newly-launched scheme would identify and bring young buskers together, as a small music school.
Heydari, 34, started playing piano when he was just 8 years old.
He has arranged and composed over 17 music albums released by well-known Iranian vocalists including Mojtaba Kabiri, Amir Karimi, Babak Jahanbakhsh and Nima Masiha.
In addition, he has produced soundtracks for over 23 Iranian films, including ‘Two Sisters’ (2010), ‘You and Me’ (2011) and ‘Checkmate’ (2010).
He released his first album, ‘Pooneh’ in 2000.
Heydari is currently a member of the jury in a Persian TV show, titled ‘Shab-kook’, which holds singing contests among the participants.

 

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