Coldplay performs Iranian protest song Baraye from arrested singer | Iran
An Iranian protest anthem that became the soundtrack to the national uprising was thrust into the international spotlight again over the weekend when Coldplay performed a cover and broadcast it live around the world.
The British band performed the song, Baraye, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Friday and Saturday night at the start of their world tour, with exiled Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani on stage singing in Farsi.
Friday’s concert was broadcast by satellite to cinemas in 81 countries, but not in Iran, where playing or singing the song could lead to arrest.
Baraye, which means “For…” or “Because of…”, was written by one of Iran’s most popular musicians, Shervin Hajipour, with verses taken from 31 messages that citizens had posted online to share their misery, pain and sorrow.
Hajipour sings lyrics such as “to dance in the streets”, “for whenever we were afraid to kiss our lovers” and “for women, life and freedom” – a chant frequently used during protests.
Days after the song was released and went viral, the 25-year-old was arrested and his song deleted from Instagram. He has since been released on bail but has remained silent.
However, his music had been widely shared, with other videos showing Baraye being sung by Iranian schoolgirls, screaming from car windows in Tehran and performing at solidarity protests around the world. He has received tens of thousands of submissions for a Grammy award that honors music dedicated to social change.
Iran has been plagued by protests since the September 16 death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old of Kurdish origin arrested in Tehran by the “morals police” because of her headscarf. Amini was allegedly beaten, taken to hospital in a coma and later died.
Since then, protests led by women have been met with violence by authorities, with at least 270 deaths and 14,000 arrests, according to the group Human Rights Activists in Iran.
Now in its seventh week, the rallies have become a full-fledged student uprising against the regime that shows no sign of ending.
During Saturday’s concert, Coldplay singer Chris Martin told the audience that in Iran “young women and young people are fighting for their freedom, for the right to be themselves.”
After inviting Farahani on stage, he told fans, “You may not know this song, but we have to give it our all because we will send it with love from here to Iran.”
During the performance, Hajipour’s original video of him singing the song played above the stage.
Footage of the concert has been widely shared by Iranians on social media, although government restrictions on the internet make it difficult to verify accounts inside the country.