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There’s Now an Electronic Remix Package of Iranian Protest Anthem ‘Baraye’

todayJanuary 27, 2023

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On Feb. 4, the evening prior to the 65th Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy will award its first-ever award for song for social change at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony. The frontrunner to receive this award is considered to be “Baraye,” a Farsi language protest song by 25-year-old Iranian musician Shervin Hajipour that received a reported 95,000 of the 115,000 submissions for this category.

Hajipour wrote “Baraye” using words from internet posts Iranians wrote about the uprisings in that country in the wake of the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s morality police. (The crime was her purported lack of appropriate head covering.) Posted on Sep. 28, less than two weeks after Amini’s death, it quickly went viral, becoming the anthem for the global protest movement sparked by her death. Hajipour, who lives in Iran, was arrested by the Islamic regime the day after posting the song. He was released on bail the following week and is currently awaiting trial.

“Baraye” has been covered by numerous artists, including a rendition in English by Iranian singer Rana Mansour and another from Coldplay, who performed “Baraye” at a November stadium show in Argentina, with accompaniment by Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani. Designer Jean Paul Gaultier used it to soundtrack his runway show at Paris Fashion Week earlier this month.

Today (Jan. 27) Iranian-German DJ/producer Human Rias is taking “Baraye” a step further with a six-track remix package. This project, Baraye the Remixes for the People of Iran is the inaugural release on his newly minted 7Rituals label. Proceeds from the project will go to a foundation benefitting Iranians.

The first of these remixes is done by Rias himself and taps into his instinct for dancefloor heat via precise drum work and a percolating trance rhythm. He slots Hajipour’s heart-wrenching words neatly into his rework, retaining all the sorrow and hope of the original vocal, bolstering it with uplifting atmospherics and occasional effects-treated snippets of Hajipour voice. Listen to this remix below.

Subsequent remixes from the project will be released every Friday. A stunning version from Berlin titan Jan Blomqvist drops on Feb. 3, followed by Hamburg-based duo ANDATA (who are also partners in the project’s associated merchandise through Customised Culture), PEGAH, American producer RSRRCT, and ending with Berlin-based pair Victor Ruiz & Tao Andra on Mar. 3. As there is no official studio recording of “Baraye,” and therefore no stems available, remixers worked with what was available online, altogether delivering a powerful package that expands the song’s reach into the global electronic scene.

Rias’ idea for the package was sparked when Blomqvist posted his version of the song to Instagram last November. “The idea is to help put Iran and [its people’s] suffering into the public eye, to ensure that the world is exposed to what is happening,” Rias says of the project. “What better [way] to do this than [by using] my resources the best way I know how, through our global electronic music platform?”

Berlin-based artist PEGAH was also a huge part of the inspiration for the remix package. Rias explains: “She approached me at one of my parties in Munich, where I could truly see her passion and her hurt as a fellow Iranian, and it was clear it was important to have her involved as well.”

“I didn’t really choose the remixers based on who they are — but rather their sound, and music that I personally love,” he continues. “Having more artists on this means we have more diversity, and that’s important to expand across genres. I hope everyone finds a remix that works for their sets, enabling more of our colleagues to play this song.”

Like all Iranians and their supporters, Rias awaits the announcement of the Special Merit Award with bated breath. “In a way, it makes Iran be seen again by the West, which has led to a massive surge in global support,” he says. “That brings me to tears, and also leaves me speechless that the rest of the world has united to support.”

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