News / Arts & Entertainment

Rising Iranian Musicians Slain in New York

FILE - Ali Eskandarian performs at Joe's Pub's 10th Anniversary Gala and tribute to Judy Collins at the Public Theater in New York, Oct. 10, 2008.
FILE - Ali Eskandarian performs at Joe's Pub's 10th Anniversary Gala and tribute to Judy Collins at the Public Theater in New York, Oct. 10, 2008.
RFE/RL
A gunman has shot dead three Iranian musicians in New York before turning the gun on himself.

Two of the victims were members of the Iranian indie rock band Yellow Dogs, which became famous after appearing in the award-winning movie No One Knows About Persian Cats.

The members of Yellow Dogs moved to the United States three years ago in a bid to pursue their rock-and-roll dream in a climate of greater freedom.

At home in Iran, Yellow Dogs were part of that country's underground music scene. With rock concerts banned, bands are forced to operate clandestinely to avoid punishment by the state.

Details of the shooting at a building in Brooklyn, New York, are still unclear. But on November 11, two members of the band -- two brothers -- were shot dead by the gunman, who has been identified in media reports as a musician from another band.

The perpetrator also shot dead another Iranian musician in the same building and then killed himself.

The band’s manager, Ali Salehzadeh, told The New York Times that Soroush Farazmand, a guitarist, and Arash Farazmand, the drummer, had been killed.

Another man in the house reportedly survived the shooting with an arm injury. His condition has been reported as stable.

The reason for the attack, which occurred after midnight, is not clear. Some news reports initially suggested that the shooter was a former member of the Yellow Dogs who had been kicked out of the band after a dispute over money, although that was disputed by later reports.

Investigators were still trying to determine the details of the shooting spree.

Reports say police officers who arrived at the scene of the shooting found the bodies of three men on the second and third floors. Two had been shot in the head and one in the chest, police said. The body of the suspected shooter was found on the roof of the building with a rifle next to him. He had apparently died from a self-inflicted wound to the head.

Fame and Scrutiny

The tragic incident has caused shock and sadness among fans of the Yellow Dogs.

They were among the underground musicians featured in Bahman Ghobadi's widely acclaimed movie No One Knows About Persian Cats, which focuses on Iran's underground music scene.

The movie brought the Tehran band fame and also more scrutiny from the regime, which led to them leaving the country and seeking asylum in the United States.

In one of the movie's scenes the band is rehearsing in a makeshift studio on a Tehran rooftop. In a 2011 interview, members of the band told RFE/RL that they had built the soundproof studio themselves.

All they wanted was to achieve their dream of "playing music everywhere in this world," the band said. "We don't like to use our Iranian nationality for being famous. There are [Iranian musicians] dying for that, here they exaggerate these topics," -- a reference to repression and human rights violations in Iran -- "just to go to festivals and make money out of it."

Members of the band left Iran following the 2009 mass street protests after the re-election of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They said some of their friends had been among those arrested and injured in the crackdown.

"A lot of our friends were in trouble, some went to the hospital, other were jailed. Some cops, we don't know if they were from the government, they came and took some photographs of that dark house, the practicing room that we had on the rooftop, and there was more attention after the movie [came out]. We felt it might be a little dangerous, especially for our music, because our music -- we sing in English, and most people [in Iran] don't really understand -- but if you go and check out our lyrics, they're really aggressive," one of the band members, who is unidentified in the interview, told RFE/RL.

After fleeing Iran, they performed in Istanbul in what was reportedly their first public concert. Their rock-and-roll career continued in New York, where the band settled in Brooklyn and played at a number of well-known venues and festivals.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 13, 2013 10:15 AM
Please check how much that shooter is influenced from Tehran. That incident is a smear campaign to make Iranians and such other dissidents feel unsafe to find safe haven in USA and other western countries. He must have been indoctrinated in Iran to cause that trouble. Even at death, he should be tried and imprisoned for life. But though it is a free society, those musician asylum candidates deserved to be watched both for their safety and possible bend over back activities. Don't be caught napping again, it is not good for USA. Rouhani should call off all uncompleted terrorist activities if Iran is to be taken seriously to want to reintegrate into world affairs.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."