It was a brief conversation, but one that was rich in content and satisfactory for me, on a personal level, because I was able, finally, to get to know this man. A man whom I’d become intrigued by thanks to his music, which beautifully invokes very special thoughts and feelings.
I met Fared, an Iranian-American composer, vocalist, poet, Persian setarist and multi-instrumentalist, digitally via that most contemporary medium – Facebook – more or less immediately we had struck up a conversation, and soon enough had decided that an interview would definitely take place. With his tour coming in a few weeks, bringing him to the UK, France, Germany and then on to India, the plan was to meet in London. Sadly, the plan was scuppered, but we did secure some time on Skype.
Here is a man with an immense love of life, was my instant reaction, as although not sleeping until the early hours of the morning, he was brimming with a vibrant energy. Clearly enthused by this tour and the many cities he was visiting, on some occasions for the first time.
Fared’s personality, from what I could understand in the immediate, is made up of a prodigious passion for music, which he proudly explained is his full-time profession, a curiosity and excitement for life, and above all else, a foundation of deep creativity.
Born in a small town in Texas, to Iranian parents, he is most at home in rural and rustic environments, for it’s here where the words and compositions that go into making music for the soul are born. Primarily influenced by classical Persian, Western Indie and Country rock, along with Hindustani Classical, this smorgasbord of differing cultural influences is what makes Fared the exception among many of his peers.
This melding of such genres which are so far removed from each other is down to his peripatetic nature, having moved from Texas to San Francisco, experiencing as well Iran, where his ancestral roots lie, Europe, India etc. From his first EP ‘Tehranosaurus’ and his 2011 album ‘Behind The Seas’, one can hear the influences of the artists that touch his soul, he spoke of David Bowie and Willie Nelson, for ‘Behind The Seas’ the influences were numerous but most prominent were the great poets of Iran’s ancient and modern history such as Hafez, Saadi and Sohrab Sepehri.
There were many occasions in our conversation when Fared spoke in poetic and philosophical terms, a clear indication that he is a worthy builder of beauty, with an American heart and Iranian soul he explained that he is able to convey both Western constructs and Iranian melodic patterns in his music.
The poet Hafez once said – “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” Fared does that with his music, his enthusiasm for life and humanity itself, which entwines like ivy around every note, gifts the listener with a sense of joy and meaning, be it a song of sadness or happiness.
Cover image by Ambe Williams / All other photos courtesy of Fared Shafinury.