Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous Post | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next Post »

IRAN: Chris de Burgh plans to play Tehran

May 29, 2008 | 11:01 pm

Chris de Burgh is determined to sing for his lady, whether she wears a sexy red dress or an austere black chador.

This fall, the British pop star, who became famous worldwide with his 1980s light-rock hit "The Lady in Red," will likely perform in the Iranian capital.

This is what he and his Iranian producers announced at a news conference in Tehran on Wednesday morning.

Of course, there is still the arduous task of getting a official written permission from Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and then making sure that the country's strict religious authorities do not decide to spoil the party.

It's common in Iran for officials to pull the plug on concerts at the last minute, sending scores of disappointed music young fans home.

Regardless, de Burgh and his Iranian sponsors have been actively looking for the best concert venue in Tehran.

The pop star, who will play alongside a local pop band called Arian, stressed that he will be singing for the "ordinary people of Iran" and not for the country's leaders:

This has been a dream of mine since I was a little boy (to visit Iran)... I am here to see and play for people… We are not politically naive ... I am not here for any political reasons. I am a humanist.

De Burgh's agent in Tehran, Mohsen Rajabpour, said the performer's visit to Tehran this week was a good sign:

The very presence of Mr. Chris de Burgh is an indication that we will have a show here some time in November or October. I am not sure yet how things will be sorted out.

As for the choice of songs, the agent said he will be carefully looking into de Burgh's large repertoire to choose among songs those that will pass the scrutiny of the censors.

If the concert takes place, it will be the first time since the 1979 revolution that an Iranian pop band has performed with a Western singer inside the Islamic Republic.

Arian and de Burgh have recorded a song and video called "A Light for Eternity" (above) which was played at the cultural center where the news conference was held.

De Burgh enjoys a wide popularity across the Arab world. He has performed more than once in Lebanon and recorded a song, "Lebanese Night," with one of Lebanon's sultry pop stars, Elissa.

Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Raed Rafei in Beirut