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Iranian expat artists in L.A. give voice to their countrymen

July 10, 2009 |  7:00 pm

Andy Watching the impassioned crowds surge through Tehran's tense streets, pop singer Andy Madadian wanted to take action. But how?

An Armenian native of Iran who has lived for three decades in Los Angeles, Madadian avoids direct involvement in his homeland's politics. But as Iran was plunged into crisis last month by a fiercely disputed presidential election, the man known as "the Persian Elvis" wanted to send a musical message of sympathy and support to his countrymen.

So it was that on June 24, working with A-list producer Don Was, rock singer Jon Bon Jovi and his longtime guitarist Richie Sambora, Madadian recorded a propulsive cover of "Stand by Me," the old Ben E. King classic, with lyrics in Farsi and English. Although "Stand by Me" -- or, if you prefer, "Ma Yeki Hastim," which translates as "We Are One" -- is no protest anthem, it appears to have struck a chord, judging by its combined 600,000 hits on YouTube and other sites.

Read the rest of the story here. And for a look at how U2 has joined in, click here.

Photo: Andy Madadian. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times