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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."