Cultural Diplomacy: Jazzing it up in Iran

Cultural Diplomacy: Jazzing it up in Iran

The saxophonist at Vadhat Concert Hall in Tehran, Iran, took center stage in his vivid blue and white flowered shirt. A jazz musician and composer from New York, Bob Belden, along with his band, Animation, were the first Americans to perform in Iran since the 1979 revolution. 1,200 Iranian jazz fans celebrated the moment along with the Americans by shooting cell-phone photos of each other and cheering.

Belden and his bandmates experienced Iran’s famous hospitality as they went from place to place performing during their four-day visit. Before Friday’s concert, he said,

“This guy comes up to me, an Iranian; asks me where I’m from. I say, ‘America!’ He says, ‘I love you!’  I tell him I’m a jazz musician. He says, ‘I love jazz!’”

“Everybody is nice to us here,” he added.

Belden and his group played at the annual Farj music festival that commemorates the anniversary of the Islamic revolution. That programming decision by Iranian cultural officials appeared to be a tentative foray into pursuing better ties with the West.

Read more about this example of cultural diplomacy between Iran and the U.S. in this New York Times article.

You can read more about Iran’s hospitality toward Americans here.

The swooping 164-foot Azadi (Freedom) Tower takes pride of place in Tehran’s spacious green Azadi Square Photo credit: Lindsay Fincher

The swooping 164-foot Azadi (Freedom) Tower takes pride of place in Tehran’s spacious green Azadi Square
Photo credit: Lindsay Fincher

Travel to Iran with MIRMIR has more than 15 years of unmatched destination expertise and travel planning experience, hand-crafting tours to Iran since 2001. Choose from MIR’s variety of small group tours and rail journeys by private train.

You can also opt to travel on your dates and at your pace on MIR’s Essential Iran independent trip or on a custom, private tour of Iran.

(Top photo: Friends in Iran. Photo credit: Ann Schneider)

PUBLISHED: March 9, 2015

Related Posts

Share your thoughts