Persian disco


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

werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz werkstattnoruz

And the bonus: Üsküdara, the Balkan migrating melody, about which we have already written, this night in an Iranian presentaion

River-watch


The Wall had fallen twenty-eight years ago, just as many as it had lived. The wounds slowly scab over. Who remembers any more that in the Potsdamer Platz there was a forest, from where thousands of crows took off at dawn, that behind the Märkisches Museum the street ended in a trabant leaned against the wall? Only the seamless row of remarkably new houses reveals the lack of a past, the scar of the basalt cube line running in the middle of the asphalt sets one more layer on this city full of scars. And yet, even after twenty-eight years, a crack in the space-time opens in the most unexpected places, the wall romanticism rises again in the very middle of the city. A few hundred meters from Checkpoint Charlie, where you now have to relive in the freak show of a Persian artist what it felt like to peep over the wall, along the Stallschreiberstraße, where Martin Luther King personally hurried to express a distressing opinion about the East German border guards who opened fire on that morning on a DDR-Flüchtling, the coppice wood, which has thriven for twenty-eight years, has disappeared overnight. In the middle of the land, moled by building machinery, a guard with long white hair is watching the cut-out woods, at the yowl of his dog he turns back, he beckons to the camera. The new house row of the Alte Jakobsstraße, and the TV tower of the Alexanderplatz shines through the clearance. The cast stone blocks running on the edge of the ground will not indicate for long the former line of the wall. Time has swallowed another piece from the shelf islands of recent history.

stall stall stall stall stall stall stall


Carnival in Mamoiada


The normative descriptions of folk customs, such as we find in ethnographic encyclopaedia, or in the representative publication of the Museum of Mediterranean Masques of Mamoiada about the local Carnival, lift the custom into a timeless sphere, adjust it to the rhythm of the eternal return. What was yesterday will be tomorrow as well, and the parade of the mamuthones and issohadores of Mamoiada appears before us from the obscurity of five thousand years as we would have experienced it by entering the stream of time at any of the carnivals in the past five thousand years.

The normative description highlights the actions repeated year after year, which are considered the essential elements of the custom, and the carriers of collective identity. Exactly because of this, it does not account for such casual and improvised actions of the realization of the custom, as, for example

• that the mamuthones and issohadores, while dancing through the village, en-route stop at every bar, where they dance around the room, and they get free drink in return;

• the villagers take part in the feast in a wide variety of carnival costumes, which, from a historical and symbolic point of view, are absolutely incompatible with the millenary tradition of the mamuthones, but this absolutely does not bother anyone;

• the participants of the parade again and again quit their ritual role, to interact with the relatives and friends, thereby strengthening social ties, and they take pictures with their mobile phones of the other millenary masquerade, the kurents invited from Slovenia to amuse the village, just as these latter take photos of them, and all the onlookers of all of them;

• and that this multi-threaded series of events, which waves on, halts and then restarts during many hours in several sites, unique and never repeatable, and only to be experienced here and in person, this is the very carnival of Mamoiada.

On the Milan flight a young Italian couple is watching me organizing the photos. “Where is this?” they ask. “In Mamoiada, Sardinia”, I reply. “Next year we will go there, too”, they decide.

Mamuthones in the bar. Video by Tibor Nagy


Maria Pittau: Su Beranu (Spring). From the album Raighinas (2004)

mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2 mamoiada2


mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3 mamoiada3


mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4 mamoiada4

New blood. Video by Ildikó Fabricius