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A Voice From The East in The West


A Voice From The East in The West

Admired by more than 100 million people, he has recorded over 270 songs, has released 30 Albums and performed in 23 countries. From LanExss Arena in Germany to Royal Albert Hall in England, MGM in Vegas, Kodak Theater and Cabaret Tehran in California. He is the favorite of The Persian Royal Family and Persian's most idolized vocalist artist of our contemporary time. His name is Hassan Sattar, known as SATTAR.

His fame began at the age of 22 with the release of the theme song "Khaneh Bedoosh" which literally means ‘Homeless’ for "Morad Barghi", a popular television show in Persia. The show made him an instant star. Young, talented, and handsome, he soon became an Icon all over the Middle East. In 1978, Sattar migrated to the United States and continued his singing career in Los Angeles, California. In 1980, he got married and eventually became a father. His career blossomed further through the years, leading him on tours all over the world.

Maestro SattarMaestro SattarANNICK: Thank you so much for taking the time to be speaking with me. Your artist name is SATTAR. Is Sattar your first name?

SATTAR: My pleasure. Sattar is my father’s forename, which I chose as my artistic name so that I treat it with utmost respect and never take my social image, artistic responsibility or fame light or for granted.

ANNICK: How would you describe yourself as a pop star tenor vocal artist?

SATTAR: For the past 40 years I have been blessed with being active in performing and recording both Pop and Classic / Traditional music. I am thankful for being able to satisfy different tastes in both Persian Pop and Classic music and for being a diverse singer for my audience.

Sattar in the museum Sattar in the museumANNICK: When you were 22, a popular television show made you an instant pop star in Iran. How did this come about?  What made it so popular?

SATTAR:  “Morad Barghi” was a comedy–drama TV series back in early 70s. Parviz Kardan, the producer and leading star of the show played the role of a naive homeless electrician living out of his vehicle, who fell in love with the youngest daughter of a family with 7 girls.

Kardan was looking for a new singer and a new theme song for his upcoming show. Coincidentally, I was in a recording studio when he turned up and people there introduced me to him and he liked my voice. Right there and then we made the theme song “Khaneh Bedoosh/(Homeless)” and on the following night he put it on his next episode. Calls kept pouring to the national TV requesting a replay and  how people could get hold of that song.  I can say the reason for its success and popularity was that the show was well written and well directed and it was projecting the realities. It was portraying the purity of love regardless of wealth or social status. It was a truly original work from every aspect.
 
Maestro Sattar with Mahasty, the renowned Iranian singer whose music was shispered and hymmed by all ages and who passed away after a long battle of cancer in Santa Rosa, California on June 25, 2007Maestro Sattar with Mahasty, the renowned Iranian singer whose music was shispered and hymmed by all ages and who passed away after a long battle of cancer in Santa Rosa, California on June 25, 2007ANNICK: You became very successful as a young man.  What was it like then in Iranian society?  How different was it then to be so successful and an icon of Iranian society? 

SATTAR: Of course becoming successful and famous at the age of 22 was nice but as I mentioned earlier, I never let fame and popularity overtake me. I strongly believe in the essence of human values and modesty. As for the second part of your question, before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran was a modern, developing, and a very rich country by all means. As you know, we have well over 6000 years of heritage and a 2500-year-old culture, which is part of the fabric of every society on this planet.

Before the revolution, arts and artists had unique values. Our music was becoming influential and we were often invited to perform at international stages. Our country was hosting international festivals with artists and musicians from all over the world. But, regretfully, this Islamic Republic has driven the country centuries back and our young generations inside the country are suppressed.

Mahasty & Sattar - a few minutes with Mahasty and Sattar.flv Mahasty & Sattar - a few minutes with Mahasty and Sattar.flvThe Pop music is heavily controlled by the Islamic Government and our original Traditional or ‘Dastgahi’ music has been changed by certain so called Masters to meet the requirements of the regime. Still we have a couple of real Maestros in Persian Classic / Traditional music inside Iran but sadly they are aging and not permitted to perform as they should.

ANNICK: You became famous during the time of the Shah. How was it back then growing as a young musician in Iran?

SATTAR: Artists of all sorts were treated with honor and  dignity and Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi, the Empress of Iran, had a major leading role with that. There were some rules and regulations benefiting the quality of music and music productions, which were to broadcast by the national radio and TV but in general we were permitted to present our modern and progressive work.

Mahasty & Sattar - a few minutes with Mahasty and Sattar.flv Mahasty & Sattar - a few minutes with Mahasty and Sattar.flvANNICK: Were musicians supported by the government: I mean did you have some financial support by the royal family? Were the Arts praised back then?

SATTAR: Arts including performing arts and music were supported nation-wide by the government. But we had our private recording labels then as we do now. I personally received no specific financial support from the royal family. And yes, arts were praised and we had festivals and awarding ceremonies especially for the movie industry.

ANNICK: Did you work for yourself or were you hired by the Royal family?
 
SATTAR: I was an independent vocalist who had the honor of often being invited to perform before the royal family and at state events. Moreover, on several occasions I was privileged to be the ambassador of our music in foreign countries and perform before foreign heads of states and dignitaries.
 
Maesro Sattar in the 70sMaesro Sattar in the 70sANNICK: Your career was going well and success was grand, then came the strong Shi'ite opposition against the Shah, lead by Ayatollah Khomeini, who lived in exile in Iraq and later in France. In the States we did not like the revolution and I remember when we all had to get in the line at the gas station due to a gasoline shortage. Most gas stations
were closed.

SATTAR: It wasn’t just Khomeini or Shi'ite opposition! This was carefully orchestrated in lieu of a new geo-political and economical decision at the time, and Khomeini was simply their element. And of course in these sort of games the public will always pay the price and get the burdens. I am sure you, the United Sates and the whole world can see now that how those events of post 1979 had its turn and today that region is in an appalling situation.

Maestro SattarMaestro SattarANNICK: When did you decide to leave Iran? Was it difficult to make this decision?

SATTAR: I had my overseas Europe and US tours and I came to the US for a two-week concert in New York and Los Angles when the unrests started and eventually the revolution happened and we never could return back and now it is exactly 32 years that I am here. Yes, It was very difficult especially that I had to take care of my band too. I often say this: When I recorded my first ever music, “Homeless” for that TV show, I never thought that it will one day apply in my life too. It was a new beginning and here I had to start again and build up a new life.
 
ANNICK: Do you agree with me that everything happens for a reason?
 
SATTAR: Yes, I do. I believe everything happens for a reason. There are things that are out of our control but one should have good faith and stay positive.

ANNICK: Do you have any regrets? Would you ever want to return to Iran?
 
Maestro Sattar with Her Imperial Majesty Shahbanou Farah and Mrs Sattar. April 22nd 2010, in Los Angeles - The Arts for Children - A benefit for the Foundation for the Children of Iran.Maestro Sattar with Her Imperial Majesty Shahbanou Farah and Mrs Sattar. April 22nd 2010, in Los Angeles - The Arts for Children - A benefit for the Foundation for the Children of Iran.SATTAR: As Frank Sinatra says: “A few, but yet too few to mention”. I would love to go back but not until the democracy is restored and Islamic Republic is gone. I hope any day soon, the world community will take our people’s side and support our people to free themselves from this theocratic and undemocratic government.
 
ANNICK: Is your family with you? Are they musicians, too?

SATTAR: My father passed away in 2007 in Iran but I couldn’t be there for his funeral for the obvious reasons. We arranged one memorial over here in LA and one in New York. My mother is in Iran. I live with my wife in LA and my daughter ‘Sheena’, who just received her Master’s in Psychology and is working in San Francisco. No, my family are not musicians but are in support of that.
 
Maestro SattarMaestro SattarANNICK: What were your greatest hits in Iran? Were you able to be as successful in the United States?

SATTAR: My signature song is ‘Hamsafar’, literally meaning ‘Travel Mate’ and I had many hit songs back then including ‘Gole Sangam’, which was recorded as cover song by several other non-Iranian singers.  As for the US and overseas, within the Persian community, which consists of 6-7 million people in Diaspora, yes and I believe I could maintain my career pretty dynamically.

ANNICK: Persian music is beautiful. Your voice is so pure. It is a delight to listen to your singing. Do you have any hit songs in the US?  Who are your fans?

SATTAR: During the past 30 years in the US, I had approximately 40 hits. Since I sing in Persian, the majority of my fans are Persians and Farsi speakers of other countries. I often receive fan letters and emails from India to south East Asia, from Middle East to North America and Canada. I am truly delighted that I can meet with my fans in cultural venues and concert halls.

Sattar in the 90sSattar in the 90sANNICK:

I have noticed that you sing a lot with Mahasty who is also a very famous Persian singer. Did you meet in the States?

 

SATTAR:  Mahasty and I knew each other back in Iran and shared many stages. And in the US we had many duets and several joint records.

ANNICK:

Where do you get your inspiration? Who are your favorite  singers?

 

SATTAR: I usually get my inspiration from people and the world affairs around me. I enjoy listening to: Lionel Richie, Julio Iglesias and Andrea Bocelli.

Iran - On National TV live show in 70sIran - On National TV live show in 70sANNICK: From your concert tours and announced dates, one can guess how pretty engaged you are, do you also allocate time and have interest in performing at festivals and charitable events?

SATTAR: My performing calendar year usually reads a balance of 60/40, i.e. 60% of my performances take place overseas and 40% within the US. I often attend international cultural events. Provided that my prior commitments permit, whenever I receive an invitation to a festival, which is professionally managed or to a charitable event, which is close to my heart, I gladly accept.

ANNICK: I admire your courage and that as a responsible artist, you are standing with your people and supporting them by your presence in the rallies and singing message songs whenever necessary to express your solidarity.  You did what you had to do by leaving everything behind. Did all artists manage to leave Iran before life became very difficult for everyone?
 
Maestro SattarMaestro SattarSATTAR: Mostly did but some didn’t want to leave and eventually became almost inactive.

ANNICK: That is too bad. Do you have any project of your own that you are working on, today?

SATTAR: My new Album with 8 songs is on its way.

ANNICK: Do you have hope for the future of Iran?

SATTAR: Over 65% of Iran’s population of 70 million is under 30 years of age. I am hopeful for the future of Iran, as I am sure this generation will get their country back.

ANNICK: Would you like to share a message of courage and hope with our readers?

Sattar vising children and nurses in Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan. Most of Tajikistan's population belongs to the Persian-speaking Tajik ethnic group, who share language, culture and history with Afghanistan and Iran.Sattar vising children and nurses in Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan. Most of Tajikistan's population belongs to the Persian-speaking Tajik ethnic group, who share language, culture and history with Afghanistan and Iran.SATTAR: A courageous person dies once, a coward dies every minute. Sometimes the most courageous thing is to have tolerance and listen and sometimes to stand tall and speak up.  Love yourself, value and enjoy your being, because hope and fortune attract to those who value themselves.

ANNICK: Thank you for sharing such a lovely message. Which language do you prefer to sing in?  Farsi or English. Can you sing in other languages?

SATTAR: So far my songs have all been in Farsi, but I can sing in English too. Here I am happy to announce that I am now examining the possibilities of recording a few songs in English.

ANNICK: Terrific. Sattar, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. The friends at Treasures of Wonderment wish you and your family all the best.

SATTAR: Thanks for having me. For more information, please visit Sattar's website
 

 

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