(Persia Digest) – The leader of a women’s music band in Iran says: “Sadly, music and its pursuit is a man’s world like everything else in Iran.”

Persia Digest reports that any activities by women in Iranian society can have its particular difficulties and barriers. But women active on the music scene have their manifold issues. Iranian women are present on the music scene as background vocalists and players, but they are not allowed to sing on their own in the presence of men.

Women play instruments, or go on stage as a choir, in live traditional and folk music concerts; but, men are not allowed in concerts by all women bands for all women spectators.

Neda Behzad is a prominent percussion player in Iran, active in the genres of pop and classical music. She is also the leader of a women’s band.

In an interview with Persia Digest, Neda recognizes the most important challenges facing women’s bands in Iran to be constrictions in choosing music venues and attracting sponsors.

Neda points to the fact that, as women’s music bands can only perform for women, they do not have a choice of concert halls; together with other insurmountable issues, this makes finding sponsors for them rather more difficult than bands than can perform for a mixed audience.

This female Iranian musician began her musical education in 1998 and has been playing with various bands and orchestras since 2002. She expresses her regret that those in charge have not given women the necessary support. About the stance of women on Iran’s music scene, she says: “The stance of women in the arts is equal to their stance in their society.”

Be that as it may, she sees no difference in talent between Iranian women and young girls with their female counterparts in other countries, saying: “I don’t think Iranian talent is different from any other place. The important issue here is the discovery of that talent and its nurture.”

Neda says: “Sadly, music and its pursuit is a man’s world like everything else in Iran.”

Currently, Neda is the leader of the music band “Delyar” which began work in 2016 under the supervision of Mohsen Etemadzadeh. This is a band with fixed musicians who perform with different vocalists at every concert. To date, they have had fifteen successful performances.

Neda says that female vocalists who have already performed with them are Nazli Soltani and Atefeh Nowruzi. She adds that they will go on stage at the Niavaran Cultural Center on 2 June with Nazli Soltani to perform folk pieces from Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Shiraz, and southern Iran. Some of the pieces will also be in Persian.

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