Telling You What's Good

Great Ballers of Music – Mohammad Reza Shajarian

Kayhan Kalhor, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Homayun Shajarian, Hossein Alizadeh: the Masters of Persian Music. From a concert in London in 2005 that I attended

The Living Legend.

The Unsurpassable.

The single greatest living singer, and possibly greatest singer in history.

We Ball Harder is not all about catchy, dancey pop music or the masterworks of Jamaica. Today we honor possibly the greatest singer in human history, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, of Mashhad, Khorasan, Iran. His voice is the most expressive I’ve ever heard, both on record and in concert.  His complete mastery of the vocal form of Persian classical music (radif) is second to none, but beyond the technical and artistic achievements is the intangible quality of his singing, which touches the depths of the soul. His longtime collaborator Hossein Alizadeh has stated that voice, rhythm, and melodic instrumentation are of equal weight in Persian classical music, but there is no mistaking that when Shajarian is in town, concertgoers want to see HIM foremost, despite how good his accompaniment may be.

That said, special note must be given to his most accomplished of collaborators, Kayhan Kahlor, Hossein Alizadeh, and his own son, Homayoun Shajarian (who in addition to providing superb rhythmic accompaniment on tonbak also sings nearly at the level of his father, thanks to his father’s tutelage), who when performing or recording as a quartet, are known as the Masters of Persian Music.

Not only has Shajarian teamed up with the other Masters in what may well be the greatest ever recorded renditions of Persian Classical Music (arguably one of the oldest and least broken musical traditions in the world), but he has stood resolutely beside the people of Iran. When fool-ass ex-president Ahmadinezhad referred to the 2009 election protestors in Iran as “dust and trash,” Shajarian publicly stated that he himself is the “voice of dust and trash.” His song “Morgh-e Sahar” (the bird of dawn) is his signature close to concerts since then, a song of resistance so veiled in poetry that the Iranian regime can’t do anything about it.

Essential Listening:

Without You  by the Masters of Persian Music

Faryad by the Masters of Persian Music










Night Silence Desert by Shajarian and Kayhan Kalhor











A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sound is worth ten thousand. Enjoy the cuts from various Shajarian and Masters of Persian Music records and live performances.

(whole concert)

(crowd in DC demanding “Morgh-e Sahar”, concert April 2012, DC  – he obliges around 3:45)

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