Today’s New York Times profiles Hypernova, an Iranian rock band that played in New York City this past Monday. It was a gig that involved numerous hassles and delays, and yet it was still easier than performing in the band’s home country, where concerts “can lead to arrest, large fines and even a public flogging”:
Rock music has been officially deemed contrary to the Islamic republic’s moral code. In December 2005, the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, banned all Western music from state-run airwaves in a reversal of reforms made under his more liberal predecessor…
Gigs are still played in only private spaces: basements in large homes in Tehran, or villas out of town and ostensibly beyond the reach of a vast and prying network of state agents loyal to the ruling clerical establishment. The band is not too choosy, either. [Lead singer Raam] admits to playing at a girl’s 14th birthday party.
Of course, nothing maintains a low-profile quite like an illustrated feature in one of the world’s most widely read newspapers. We suspect that Hypernova will be greeted at the gate upon their return flight home, and immediately “rewarded” for their trip with a seven-year stint on an oil refinery in the Strait of Hormuz.