Shahin Najafi (Presented by Farhang Foundation)

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Shahin Najafi (Presented by Farhang Foundation)

In partnership with the Farhang Foundation, Grand Performances is proud to host musician, poet, and social activist Shahin Najafi.

By Grand Performances

When and where

Date and time

Saturday, June 17 · 6 - 10pm PDT


Grand Performances 350 South Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90071

About this event

  • 4 hours
  • Mobile eTicket

Shahin Najafi is an influential classically-trained Iranian musician, poet, singer, and social activist who gained international notoriety because his activism and the lyrical content of his music, which deals with issues such as theocracy, poverty, sexism, censorship, child labor, drug addiction and homophobia.

Opening DJ set by Omid Walizadeh

Set Times: TBD

For Location, Parking & FAQ, click here

Shahin Najafi is a musician, poet, singer, and social activist. He was born in 1980 to a middle-class family in Bandar-e Anzali, Iran, the youngest of eight children. He started writing poetry and learning to play classical and flamenco guitar in his teens. He turned to rock music, often performing as an underground musician.

As a young activist, Shahin's lyrics often conveyed strong and controversial messages about Iranian society. This attracted the disapproval of Iranian authorities and in 2004, the threat of persecution forced him to leave Iran.

In 2005, Shahin moved to Germany. Dubbed the "angry bard", he continued to write and perform music that was critical of conditions in Iran: poverty, oppression of women, homophobia, censorship, ideological dogmas, violence and cultural taboos. For a time, his career veered into rap and hip hop, bringing him fame among young fans back in Iran. These days, Shahin's music fuses rock, jazz, and blues with lyrics that demand change.

In 2012, Shahin released his most controversial song: Naghi. In it, he exhorts a Shiite Imam named Naghi to help solve some of the problems plaguing Iran. But religious hardliners called the song an insult to Imams, a crime severely punished in Iran, and used Fatwas (religious edicts) to demand his death. Around the world, politicians, scholars, musicians, and devoted fans rose to Shahin’s defense, propelling him into the limelight as a proponent of free speech.

​​Shahin Najafi lives in Germany, and is still at odds with Iranian authorities. He remains a dedicated and defiant artist who refuses to be silenced, delivering his message to enthusiastic audiences wherever he tours. His fan base continues strong in Iran and has spread around the world.

In an industry that often rewards mindless entertainment, Shahin stands apart as a musician who brings both catchy riffs and revelations to every performance -- as he says, "a pitcher of cold water poured on a slumbering society".

About Omid Walizadeh

Omid Walizadeh was seven years old when he moved to Los Angeles from Tehran after the 1970 Iranian Revolution. As a Music Producer and Film Composer, Omid’s first album Beneath the Surfaceearned him the New York Times, 1998 Top 10 Independent Albums of the Year. He has continued his career with albums and mixes such as Golahye Rang a Rang, Filter Shekan, Yalda Mix, Radio Omid, Monolith, Distant Drummer, and Modern Persian Speech Sounds. Omid’s status as a groundbreaking music producer in the Los Angeles underground Hip Hop scene is documented in Ava Duvernay’s film This is the Life; the film, currently showcased on Netflix, was also scored and co-produced by Omid.

Omid’s DJ sets include original productions and remixes that blend his experimental Hip Hop roots with 1970’s Iranian Funk and the Tehrangeles music of the 1980’s.




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