TEHRAN – (Iranart) - The Tehran Metro Underground busking scheme is a hit with performers and the travelling public. Passengers enjoy hours of live music, performed every year by professional, talented buskers.
Nioosh Band is a Progressive/Art Rock music group that performs live music regularly on the Metro. Its members told that street music performance or busking has become a trend, but for some amateur musicians it’s just a showoff.
Soroosh Ghahramanloo, Arash Ghahramanloo and Keykavous Mokhtari are the main members of the group. Here is a quick chat with them:
On forming the band:
AG: We began playing music on and off on the Tehran Metro Underground as of 2009. We also played at the Mehrabad International Airport. We officially began performing with license a year later.
SG: We had a limited number of licenses and a huge interest in joining the scheme. It took us 8 months to get our first license. Many passengers on the Metro showed their appreciation but we never wanted them to drop a coin in the hat, knowing that we were are licensed and legitimate because we performed on one of our branded pitches.
On public performances and concerts:
SG: We always wanted to change public attitude toward street performers. We wanted to be treated as pros, so we did everything to that end. We signed a contract with a sponsor. We gave our best shots on the Metro Underground. We never saw ourselves as buskers. Our sponsor branded the pitches within our guidelines and benefitted from additional joint publicity and other opportunities during the sponsorship period.
AG: Our performances included paintings and street designs as well. Our pitch at the Elm and San’at Station was small, so we decided to move out. This way we managed to attract even more audience, people who were listening to our music for the first time. Our busking scheme branched out beyond the confines of the Metro.
On future plans and programs:
AG: we have no idea what the future holds for us. It all depends on the band members. We are regularly booked for events and recording sessions for our new album.
SG: The problem is that there are now many buskers out there nowadays. Some are doing it for showoff. Some even claim they have huge music talent which is far from the truth. Then again, I might be wrong. Some might be talented, but not all.
AG: Bureaucracy is another problem for buskers. It takes a long time to get license to perform. It was never our intention to perform for money. We only decided to play on the Underground because we wanted to let people listen to our music. We even played for war veterans who had been wounded during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.
On future albums:
KM: We plan to release our new album by the end of the year. It will include music videos. We are also trying to get license for a music concert. The name of the album is Nioosh and it is much more exciting than our previous album.
SG: It costs a lot to make a music album. It doesn’t make much money when you release an album online. One of our songs had over four million downloads but still it didn’t make a lot of money. Most of downloads was illegal.
KM: Copyright law is another problem for musicians in Iran. Even some official TV networks and channels play music without permission which is sad. They keep blaming their producers for the mishap, which is not true. They must take some responsibility and respect the copyright law.