Recently, a friend handed me an Iranian music CD and said you have to hear this. My friend is an Iranian filmmaker and once, long ago, he took me to an underground jazz concert in Tehran. It was dramatic traveling through back alleys to get to the gig and I did a story on it for NPR then in 1997.
One of the musicians I met that night was a bass player named Marob(ph). Speaking through a translator, he mentioned the freedom music creates, even in an authoritarian society.
Juan-Carlos Formell participated in a multi-artist showcase at SOB's — home to Brazilian and Latin music in New York — a few years ago. Between a couple of amped-up bands, he took the stage alone (as I recall) and sang in Spanish, accompanying himself on guitar. His voice had urgency to it, and there was an irresistible engine inside that guitar. Ever since, I've wanted to hear and know more.