I know these songs. They play in the taxi, as soon as you leave for the city from Khomenei Airport, they rumble in the kebab shop and in the bazaar, they stiffen your mind during the all-day bus route across the desert. But I have never seen people publicly dancing to them, especially not with a glass of whisky in the hand, and particularly not in the company of girls with uncovered hair and in skirts ending at thigh. Any of these subplots individually would cry for a few years of prison in Iran. But not in Berlin, in Neukölln’s Werkstatt der Kulturen, in whose cellar a Noruz celebration, a spring New Year’s disco is held tonight. The songs are the characteristic pieces of Iranian rollicking music, lamenting in Persian about the tortures of love and the inevitability of becoming adults, singing in Arabic the Egyptian pop, which is getting increasingly fashionable in Iran, or changing for Iranian-Azerbaijani Torki or Kurdish folk songs for the sake of the Iranian ethnic minorities present in the room. The audience still reacts as they had done at home, the boys dance only with boys and the girls with girls, but at least no longer in separate rooms, but in a common space, laughing embarrassed at the unusual situation. The children stroll about along the edge of the stage, they already grow into the situation, imitating the adults, until around midnight they are taken to sleep.
Habibi (Sweetheart), with Arabic text
And the bonus: Üsküdara, the Balkan migrating melody, about which we have already written, this night in an Iranian presentaion