• Saturday 08 June
  • 20 years old
  • Early bird 180 kr | Regular 250 kr
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Keeping Up with the Iranians

Shortly after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the new leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, banned music in the country, likening it to opium. As a result, many artists moved to Los Angeles to find new ways to support themselves and pursue their art in exile without the support they had previously received from the authorities. This often involved recording and performing in the musical genre dāmbuli dimbol, as it was the type of music people danced to at social gatherings (mehmooni).


It's a culture in exile consisting of dance, music, and joy, long dismissed as apolitical and poisoned art by intellectuals, Marxists, Islamists, and Westerners. But through illegal dissemination, it has found its way back to Iran and become mainstream culture behind closed doors. Repression has caused this music to signify a secret community and freedom – a catalyst for realizing one's dreams.

The performance and exhibition "Keeping Up with the Iranians" take inspiration from this part of music history by recreating a mehmooni with the world-renowned singers Setareh and Poupak, the chart-topping pianist Fereshteh, and the renowned choreographer Dancing Dina, who comes all the way from Los Angeles to join the event.

To the sounds of dāmbuli dimbol songs, they invite the audience to an unforgettable evening filled with dance, music, cake, and joy. The remnants of the performance then become the exhibition; audience recordings of the show, leftover cake, the paper plates labeled "I Have a Heart, I Have a Stomach," the book "Keeping Up with the Iranians" from the New York Times bestseller list, and last but not least, the overarching question: a girl can leave Iran, but can Iran ever let the girl be at peace for once?


Doors open at 7 PM

Show starts at 7:30 PM

Created and produced by the artist: Afrang Nordlöf Malekian

Featuring: Mia Herman, Sepideh Khodarahmi, Afrang Nordlöf Malekian, Edwin Safari

Graphic design: Johnny Chang, Agga Stage

Poster photographer: Jean-Baptiste Béranger

*Mehmooni: a social gathering where one is invited to someone's home for dinner, dancing, celebration, etc.




The Cultural Center Oceanen is a Q-marked culturally historical building, which is challenging when it comes to accessibility. We do our best to have as many people as possible visit us. When visiting us with mobility aids the best-suited entrance is through the stage. This entrance is accessed via Gathenhielmska trädgården. The entrance is locked, please email us the day before your visit or the latest Friday at 16:00 if you are visiting us during the weekend. We have a wheelchair-accessible bathroom. Please note that flashing lights may occur during concerts and events. For questions regarding accessibility email Mia Herman at mia@oceanen.com.


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