© 2022
Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Music Moment: 'One Zan' is inspired by the women's rights movement in Iran

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Last September, a young woman named Mahsa Amini, also known by her Kurdish name, Jina, died in police custody in Iran after being detained for alleged violations of the country's strict dress code. Ever since, Iranians have been filling the streets in protest. Now those voices are being heard through art. A new project called Zan Z (ph) - Zan meaning women and Z meaning Generation Z - is bringing together writers, artists and musicians from around the world to help amplify the movement in Iran. Toronto-based singer pHoenix Pagliacci is one of the artists taking part in the project, and she's written an original song she says honors Amini and the strength of Iranian women.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHOENIX PAGLIACCI SONG, "ONE ZAN")

PHOENIX PAGLIACCI: The song originally was called "One," but the song ended up being remade into a song called "One Zan." And one zan means one woman in Persian.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE ZAN")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Non-English language spoken).

PAGLIACCI: When I originally wrote the song "One," it was for a movie in regards to Emmett Till.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE ZAN")

PAGLIACCI: (Singing) Tired of hiding, tired of fighting. I'm tired of being pushed to the side, and I'm tired of being walked over.

And it's eerily similar to the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran. Unfortunately, she was a young girl who lost her life because other people tried to impose what they thought was right on her. And so those similarities really stuck out to me in the sense that there are people who will continue to silence others, no matter how young and no matter how much future they possess. And it needs to be stopped, and those who have a voice need to speak out. Those who have ability to sing or to act or to use any form of art need to use that art to lift these voices up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE ZAN")

PAGLIACCI: (Singing) All they see is one. All they see is one, one of us.

You do hear a recitation by a woman who's speaking Farsi, and she's saying, woman, life, freedom.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE ZAN")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Farsi). Woman, life, freedom.

PAGLIACCI: To use the words woman, life, freedom was pivotal. I mean, exactly what is happening right now - there are women who are losing both their life and their freedom in a country that has for so long tried to silence women. And it is a sign of resilience, a show that no matter what happens and no matter who we lose, we cannot lose our voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE ZAN")

PAGLIACCI: (Singing) So we love, and we grieve, and we give, and we receive, and we go (inaudible) just. Everyone...

My hope is that this song will not only be one that is heard but one that is felt, and felt so deep that it will move people who otherwise may not have felt connected to this movement and help them to understand exactly how connected we really are.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE ZAN")

PAGLIACCI: (Vocalizing).

MARTIN: That was singer pHoenix Pagliacci talking about her song "One Zan," part of the storytelling project Zan Z. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.