Original Songs

In 2022, there was a burst of outrage in Iran. I received requests to create a short clip to speak to the events and the desire to re-build the country. Below is the clip, just over a minute in length. It is a segment of the song, I Will Build You Again. The full song is here

The song “Na Aavaaee” was another song from the Golha-yi Rangarang Radio Program in Iran which was broadcast on Iranian National Radio for 23 years from 1956 through 1979 and was originally performed by the wonderful artist, Elaheh.

Grateful Heart is an original song based on a melody of Fereydun Shahbazian
Arrangement/Music: Monika Jalili, Brady Jalili
Poetry: Massoumeh Lahidji, Afsaneh Karimi Hosseini and Mahin Sadri
Adapted from the beautiful poem “Na aavaaee” by Touraj Negahban
English subtitles: Massoumeh Lahidji
Piano: Monika Jalili

Grateful for every moment…. With much gratitude to Massoumeh Lahidji, Afsaneh Karimi Hosseini, and Mahin Sadri for helping me to put to words what I was feeling in my heart.

قلب سپاسگزار تو اوایی تو رویایی چه دنیایی از هیچ کردی بر پا چو میجوییی چو میایی چو میخوانی عشق ناب مرا چو میخوانی نغمه های مرا نوای مهر اشنای مرا تو میدانی این تبسم ماه چرا بر لبها نشسته توهم دیگر وداع با من نخواهی و با غمها مرا تنها گزاری بمان عشق من بمان ای امیدم که گر رفتی افتادم و بر نخیزم جانم برای تو خواند بهار دلم شکفته شود بدیدن رویت اه چرا ندانیم چرا ندانیم قدر عشقمان را تو هم دیگر وداع با من نخواهی و با غمها مرا تنها گزاری

Grateful Heart, Monika Jalili on Piano

Some years ago, I began my search for poetry in modern day Iran. I wanted to share the words, the thoughts, the feelings…with the world. And I wanted to express them through music.

I discovered the soulful and powerful poetry of Simin Behbahani, a poet whose love for her country comes through so strongly in her work.

The first poem I was introduced to of hers was “Dobareh Misaazamat Vatan” (My Country, I Will Build You Again). 

I began to think about this poem and wondering if I would be able to create a song from it. A few weeks later, I heard former President Obama’s Persian New Year Greeting to Iranians around the world. And, in this message, he quoted that very same poem. 🙂

I took it as a sign, and began the journey.

I’ve started with 2 of her poems, both of which were written around the year 1980, during the Iran/Iraq war. In these songs you’ll hear a yearning for freedom and a desire to build again. Whether one’s own life, a relationship, a home, or a country, those with hope dream of rebuilding. The message is universal…

Five months into the project, I received the sad news that Simin Behbahani passed away in Iran. She was 87 years old.

A huge thank you to two very talented women who made this project possible for me;  Sara Khalili, who’s translations brought the poems close to my heart, and to my co-collaborator and arranger, Megan Gould.

Here are my versions of “I Will Build You Again” and “Leave, So I Can Stay.”

I hope you will enjoy them.