It seemed like the place to be. Even on the greyest, rainiest London evening, the queue was enormous for “Woman Life Freedom” on November 16th at the Southbank Centre. We all knew why we were there, but I wondered how each artist would shape their performances as we gathered for the women of Iran. Nevertheless, the hall was full in every sense with the bustle of audiences, drinks, and laughter.
Over the last few months, protests have erupted throughout Iran in response to the death of Mahsa Amini, who was beaten by the morality police after being arrested for the “justification and education” (The Guardian) of hijab wearing. This concert, titled “Woman Life Freedom” after the chant that has become the voice of the movement, was put on by Vaak Records founder Hesam Garshasbi and Iranian artist Adib Rostami in solidarity with protestors in Iran fighting for women’s rights.
The evening was a heart-wrenching mix of music, poetry, and speeches of advocacy for the women of Iran. Sounds and words from the Iranian diaspora highlighted the evening. Performers included Balochi singer Rostam Mirlashari and Kurdish-Iranian singer Sahar Zibaei, with artists such as singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas, London Contemporary Orchestra, and singer-cellist Kelsey Lu also joining forces to support the cause.
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