Two Bandmates and Fellow Iranian Musician Tragically Lost
“This is not the way we ever imagined
the world would learn of our story.”
All of us at Cultural Weekly are saddened by the tragic news out of New York this week that two members of the Iranian band, The Yellow Dogs, as well as a third person, were gunned down and killed in their Brooklyn residence. The victims are bandmates and brothers, Arash (drummer) and Soroush (guitarist) Farazmand, as well as Ali Eskandarian, who was a friend, fellow musician, novelist and frequent collaborator.
Earlier this year, in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of meeting all three of these highly talented young men, courtesy of their friends, countrymen and acclaimed street artists, Icy and Sot. The conversation was brief, but it was clear that these were genuinely nice guys who were so very thankful for the opportunity to be following their dreams here in the United States.
The Yellow Dogs were a revolutionary force in Tehran’s creative underground, but they fled the repression of Iran in 2010 and quickly made a name for themselves in the indie rock scene of New York City and beyond. Their post-punk sound turned quite a few heads with performances at events such as SXSW, and they were featured in the highly acclaimed documentary No One Knows About Persian Cats. Arash had recently been granted political asylum in the US and Soroush had been fast at work on new material for the band.
Eskandarian was born in the U.S., but raised in Iran, where his family stayed until being granted political asylum in Germany. He offered more of a folk sound and had been living and performing in New York since 2003. He had recently written his first novel, Golden Years, which told the story of young artistic Iranians living in Brooklyn. Something he knew a bit about.
Surviving members of The Yellow Dogs, Siavash ‘Obash’ Karampour and Koory Mirzeai, released this statement on Wednesday: “We wanted the world to discover us as we were: a community of musicians defined by our music, our friendships, our culture and our art. This is not the way we ever imagined the world would learn of our story.” To read the band’s full statement, please click here.
It’s a sad and unnecessary loss of life, youth and creativity. I could never really do them justice by the written word, so I’ll stop here and offer the following visual tribute to these three dissident artists who made a difference by following their dreams.