Mohammad Reza Shajarian: Tiny Desk Concert Joined by three excellent collaborators, Shajarian gives what amounts to a brief master class in the art of singing. In the course of this love song, titled "Az Eshgh," the Iranian icon unleashes torrents of swooping, soaring, goosebump-inducing sound that's still perfectly controlled at age 73.

Tiny Desk

Mohammad Reza Shajarian

Mohammad Reza Shajarian: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/185533273/184279436" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Every Tiny Desk Concert provides its own particular thrill, but it's not every day that we get to welcome one of NPR's 50 Great Voices to our offices. With the visit of the incredible, honey-voiced Mohammad Reza Shajarian from Iran, we lucked out by having him sing on not just any day, but on the biggest holiday of the Persian calendar: Nowruz, the New Year.

Joined by three excellent collaborators, brothers Sohrab and Tahmoures Pournazeri (celebrated musicians in their own right as leaders of Iran's Shams Ensemble) and French percussionist Robin Vassy, Ostad ("Master") Shajarian gave what amounted to a brief master class in the art of singing. In the course of this love song, titled "Az Eshgh," Shajarian unleashed torrents of swooping, soaring, goosebump-inducing sound — still perfectly controlled at age 73.

Over the past several years, Shajarian has emerged as a strong voice in other ways. Though he's been an artistic icon for decades at home, he was never particularly outspoken on political issues. But since the Green movement began in Iran in the wake of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection in June 2009, Shajarian has openly made reference to supporting the opposition, and has demanded that state-run media stop using his songs in their broadcasts and films. Those moves carry a heavy cost: He has been effectively barred from performing live in Iran, and instead now spends most of his time touring the world to diaspora and non-Iranian audiences alike. But at his heart, Shajarian is a great artist, not a politician — and perhaps now, even more will have the chance to experience his brilliant beauty and power as a singer.

Set List

  • "Az Eshgh (Love Song)"

Credits

Producer: Anastasia Tsioulcas; Editor: Gabriella Garcia-Pardo; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Lizzie Chen, Denise DeBelius, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo; photo by Marie McGrory/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Better Oblivion Community Center performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 3, 2019 (Amir Alfky/NPR). Amir Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amir Alfiky/NPR

Better Oblivion Community Center

Tiny Desk alums Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers surprised us all with their stunning collaboration this year as Better Oblivion Community Center. Together they radiate joy at the desk.

The Calidore String Quartet performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 5, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

The Calidore String Quartet

The Calidore String Quartet confirms that the centuries-old formula – two violins, a viola and a cello – is still very much alive and evolving.

Theodore performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 27, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Theodore

The music of Theodore is dark and transformative, with the kind of spare elegance you can hear in Sigur Rós or Pink Floyd.

Gary Clark Jr. performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 1, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Gary Clark Jr.

These three songs, from Clark's incendiary new album This Land, roar with the assurance and force of a showman at the top of his game.

Karine Polwart Trio performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 22, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Karine Polwart Trio

Scottish singer, songwriter and essayist Karine Polwart seldom comes stateside, eschewing air travel to reduce her carbon footprint. But on a rare, recent visit, she stopped in D.C. for a Tiny Desk.

Georgia Anne Muldrow performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 26, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Georgia Anne Muldrow

The R&B singer from Los Angeles is all about showing and spreading love.

Courtney Marie Andrews performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 2, 2019 (NPR). NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Courtney Marie Andrews

It was a day when sunlight drenched the office and the songs of heart from Courtney Marie Andrews felt right at home.

Weezer performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 27, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Weezer

Performing unplugged, the band forgoes its usual meticulousness in favor of a shaggy, entirely acoustic mix of new songs and '90s-era deep cuts.

Andrea Cruz performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 4, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Andrea Cruz

The singer from Puerto Rico is part of a movement on the island that emphasizes largely acoustic instruments and a folk-based approach to interpreting life before and after the hurricane of 2017.

&More performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 4, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

&More (Chill Moody & Donn T)

Philadelphia Rapper Chill Moody and singer Donn T, along with their crew known as &More, were one of the standout entrants in last year's Tiny Desk Contest. They bring a message of hope and love.

Back To Top