The Red Siren
Five years through the war, father was exposed to a chemical bomb, when rescuing wounded shoulders, bringing them back to the base from the front line and became hospitalized for one year. He returned to the service as soon as he could walk, although he never fully recovered and had breathing problem all the way through his life. He is my greatest hero; to this day I have never seen any man as courageous, as kind and as brave as my father. May peace be upon him in the presence of God in heaven. He passed away on April 4th 2008 after a short battle with an unknown brain sickness at the UCLA hospital in San Francisco, California.
The war came to an end in 1988 at a great cost in lives and economic damage. Half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers and civilians have died and many more injured and wounded, but neither brought reparation nor change in borders…
The piece I composed is called “ The Red Siren” or “ Ajire Ghermez” in Persian and it is in the memory of Iran’s imposed war from 1980 to 1988. I never wanted to touch this topic as it brings deep sadness and hurts badly; I had put this memory away for long time and refused to re-visit those days for many years. But listening to “ Mi Bemol” composition, stating the Oka Crises in the sonic Art class, somehow, brought the memories back and I decided to re-visit them not knowing that I may re-live the hard moments…I had a difficult week…
As a five years old child I did not have a full comprehension of war. I heard pieces of news from radio and television that made absolutely no sense, war’s music, grown-ups talking about loss of family members and economic challenges…I was afraid to loose my father and never be able to hug him again. I didn’t understand why two Muslim country would fight where in Quran the holy book God clearly says believers are like brothers, I asked this question from anybody I met, no one seemed to know the answer.
I had a difficult week during composing this piece, but I am glad I finally faced one of my greatest fear in life, war. Now as an adult when I read different articles on Iran and Iraq’s war (1980-1988) I can at least see how politicians played with millions of people’s lives and it has nothing to do with what God wanted us to do.
The helicopter’s sound you hear thought this composition represents my father and the Tar represent my feelings through different stages of the war. The following is a list of the tracks I have in this composition.
Track one:Transporter Representing Time; This Track shows the time and in different time has
different reverb qualities and volume.
Track Two: Transporter ;This Track is more like my heart beat. It has different intensity as things happens
Track Three: Pari’s Voice; This is a recording of my voice making different statements and saying words in English so non- Persian speaking people would understand the story. It has different reverb level, base frequency and volume level at different stages, all to create clear and none-clear statements based on the message I had in mind.
Track Four: The Helicopter ;This track represents the presence of my father throughout my composition. The love and passion he gave me, made me strong to face all the difficulties in life. On a different level, as a helpless child my hopeful eyes to a peaceful life were always looking up to my father’s bravery in defending my people and my country. I always had in mind “As long as men like father defend us, we will not be hurt by enemies coming to our houses and doing unspeakable things to us.”
Track Five: Khalabanan-Ava; This track contains some part of a very famous war song called “Khalabanan” meaning “ The Pilots.” Almost any Iranian person lived through the war remembers this music as a loving music that brought the heart of all Iranian people together, feeling as they are all part of a one unified community. Specially because within this song the vocalist sings in two main language spoken in Iran; Farsi and Azari. This music has a great sense of unity. The quality of the sound is not really good, as it has been recorded 30 years ago. I did very little enhancing to keep the texture the way it was recorded and showing that these sounds are historical.
Track Six: CBC News; I have recorded this historical news report from a video archive on CBC news website. The male voice is the person who reported the Iran and Iraq’s war in September 1980 for the first time. The quality of the sound is not really good, as it has been recorded 30 years ago. I did very little enhancing to keep the texture the way it was recorded and showing that these sounds are historical.
Track Seven: Attention; This is a Midi track, There is a male voice repeats: attention, attention… I used this to translate the following tracks which is announcing a civil bombing
Track Eight: The Red Siren; The red sirens or in Farsi “ Ajire Ghermez” was a radio notification message that the Iranian government created to warn people of the Iraqi’s airplane and missile bombing. This was the sign of great stress. The statement announced during this message transliterates as follow:
"Attention, attention, the sign you are about to hear is the sign of danger or announcing the Red condition. Please leave your work place or your
house and go to hiding place.
And then you hear
the scary siren...
Track Nine: Missiles
Track Ten: Explosions
Track Eleven: Missiles
Track Twelve: Missiles ;To represent the civil bombing in Iranian’s city. I used different direction for panning to create the feeling of the space, and re-create the time just as I heard the bombing, missiles and explosion from surrounding area in my childhood. Any minuet you could hear it from a different direction.
Track Thirteen: Pari’s Tar; This instrument represents my feeling, my sadness, my stress and it shares the story of my heart. I tried to design a sound that is close to one of the Persian instruments called Tar, but the technique of playing this tar is not how normally a Tar player would play it. But it is similar to how Southern Iranian “Jonoobiha” would play their local instruments, The reason I chose to play my Tar like Jonoobiha is because, the southern people suffered the most as their towns and cities were along the border and the most unspeakable things happened in the South.
"The Red Siren" is a sound track electroacoustic music composition In Memory of Iran’s war 1980-1988
The war began when Iraq invaded Iran in September 1980. I was only five years old and had learnt to love my family. My father was a search and rescue helicopter pilot in Iranian air force, a man of wisdom, kindness and a true believer of God.
At the time we lived in “Mehr Abad” base, which was one of the largest Tehran’s military bases.
Father was called to attend the war within the first week of the invasion and left my mother (35 years old), my sister Parisa(14), My brother behzad (12) and me (5) behind. We became a stronger family and learned to love, support and protect each other. We greatly missed our father who bravely left to protect our country. There were times we had no news from him and not even know whether he was alive or
not… Anytime a helicopter flied by, we children waved at it and said “ Salam Baba” meaning “ hi daddy.”