Iranian Expat Musicians Killed

Tragedy struck the music world with the shooting & murder of two members of the expat Iranian rock band The Yellow Dogs. The members of the band were from Tehran, Iran but sang in English and played Western instruments, citing Joy Division as an influence. Their music was not approved by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and was therefore Illegal. On 8-9 December, 2009 the band was interviewed by the U.S. government at the U.S. embassy in Istanbul, Turkey and their comments about the Iranian Green Movement Protesters, Iranian counter-culture, freedom of expression, trends in drug usage and music in the authoritarian state were reported in an unclassified U.S. State Department document later released by wikileaks titled, “Iran/culture: So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star.”  Siavash Karampour (vocals), Soroush Farazmand (guitar), Koory Mirzeai (bass) and Arash Farazmand (drums)

After playing in secret venues in Iran, they finally played their first above ground concert in Istanbul, Turkey and soon after  they flew to New York City to play their second legal concert in Brooklyn. Since then they’ve played mostly in the us around New York and festivals in Austin, Texas and one of their songs has made it to the soundtrack of the documentary on Iranian bands No One Knows About Persian Cats.

On November 11, 2013, a shooting took place in Brooklyn that involved current and former band members. According to band manager Ali Salehezadeh, guitarist Soroush Farazmand and drummer Arash Farazmand, along with Ali Eskandarian, a musician friend who was not part of the band, were killed by another musician named Ali Akbar Mahammadi Rafie.  A fourth person was wounded. Raefa had been kicked out of a different band (Free Keys) the previous year an had a falling out with the members of The Yellow Dogs. The gunman and members of the Free Keys are said to have had an argument over money, though it was unclear why he attacked the Yellow Dogs bandsmen.

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