From: Wendy de la Torre
For Immediate Release: February 16, 2009
Contact: (310) 927-8590
Musicians Cross Cultures and Continents
In Celebration of Resistance and Internationalism:
BENEFIT CONCERT FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
Gissoo Shakeri, renowned Iranian singer, now living in exile; Tom Morello, The Nightwatchman and The Freedom Fighter Orchestra; and La Banda Skalavera, the exciting Latino ska band, will perform at the New LATC in Los Angeles Saturday, February 28th, in a benefit concert for International Women’s Day. This rare and exciting mix of sounds and cultures will take the stage in support of women of Iran & Afghanistan in their struggle against the women-hating Islamic Republic of Iran and the imperialist U.S. Empire.
Saturday, February 28, 2009. In the darkness of the New LATC, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, hundreds of hearts will beat to a haunting song:
I asked myself what kind of life is this?
No! Now is the time to do battle....
It is the voice of Gissoo Shakeri whose song is the soundtrack to the lives, dreams and battles of women from Iran who’ve been fighting for 30 years against the Islamic Republic of Iran, a government whose very foundation rests on the debasement of women.
It has been 30 years since the Ayatollah Khomeini, supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, declared Hejab (the Islamic headcovering for women) to be mandatory. And 30 years as well since the women of Iran gave their response to his decree only days later, on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 1979. Tens of thousands of defiant bare-headed women, joined by men, filled the streets of Tehran and declared that having just thrown out the brutal U.S.-backed Shah of Iran: “We did not make revolution to go backwards!” For the past thirty years Sharia-based laws have been enforced through prisons, beatings, stonings, and hangings. Imprisoned revolutionary women have faced torture for refusing to submit to god. But the anger at having to live under the shroud has never died; seething at times beneath the surface, at others in open resistance.
This concert, as well as the March 7 International Women’s Day March & Rally in Westwood, is in response to a Call from the March 8 Women’s Organization (Iran-Afghanistan) to celebrate International Women’s Day 2009 in the U.S. and around the world with a spirit of resistance and internationalism. “We will not rest till we break all our chains and achieve the emancipation of women and the whole of humanity from the clutches of the power systems dominating Iran as well as the world. We will reject and expose the cynical claims of US imperialists wanting to ‘liberate’ us.” This Call illuminates a vision of women’s liberation that refuses to trade in the reactionary confinement of the Hejab for the oh-so-modern, sex-in-the-city freedom that buys and sells women as commodities. It declares both the Islamic Republic of Iran and U.S. imperialism outmoded social, ideological and political systems; and it is bringing forward another way, to a whole different future.
In clandestine meetings in Iran, street marches and seminars in Europe, on the streets of Westwood on March 7 and on this night, February 28th, at LATC, the determination and spirit of these women will shine a way forward toward a new and radically better world.
Gissoo Shakeri left Iran after the revolution that brought the Islamic Republic to power. Before the revolution she refused to sing because she would not accept the chauvinism and censorship of the Shah’s regime. Under the IRI women’s singing was banned. She is now living in exile in Sweden and supporting the struggle of women everywhere through her music. “My voice is the voice of the women who cannot sing, my words are their words. The bird of freedom captive in your breast sings with my voice..”
Tom Morello, the Nightwatchman, is one of the most radical artists on the scene today – from his days as guitarist extraordinaire of Rage Against the Machine, to the recently released Fabled City – his second solo album as The Nightwatchman. Rolling Stone has ranked him among the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” In 2008, in an electric performance, he joined Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on stage at the Honda Center to sing “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”
La Banda Skalavera is an LA band bursting with energy and creativity. The band has recently been signed onto a German record label and is about to do tours of Europe, the U.S., and Mexico. It is ska music that holds the band together, but members bring in their other musical passions – salsa, rancheras and norteñas.
Interviews will be possible with some of the performers.
Benefit Concert for International Women’s Day
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The New LATC
514 S. Spring Street
Downtown LA, CA 90013
Tickets available through:
International Women’s Day Coalition, IWDLA2009@yahoo.com, (323) 490-2647
Libros Revolución, 312 W. 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014, 213-488-1303
Ketab Persian Books & Music, 1419 Westwood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 310-477-7477
For more information about tickets call (323) 490-2647.