Ajam performing ‘Bayram’ live at GEM TV Studios in March 2014 (Norooz 1393).
‘Bayram’ is a piece that has been prepared in celebration of the ‘Norooz’ Festival that celebrates the first day of spring. The song is inspired by the story-telling of the Azeri ‘Āshiqs’ (wandering Bards) and the musical soundscape of the piece takes influence from the native music of Azerbaijan, the Caucasus and North-Western Iran.
The rhythmic poetry (written in Farsi/Persian in a poetic form known as ‘Bahre Taveel’) that is delivered in a spoken tone, announces the coming of spring and narrates the tale of a lively exchange between a ‘Bulbul’ (Nightingale), a Jeyran (Gazelle) and an Āshiq. The dialogue between these characters presents a debate regarding the impact of human activity on the environment. As the Āshiq sings of the coming of ‘Norooz’ the Bulbul contests that if humans are to share in the celebration of spring they should first seek to halt the damages that they are causing to the natural world and if they wish to truly celebrate the coming of spring they should help to preserve this nature. The Azeri verses that are spoken on behalf of the Jeyran are taken from a sonnet by Hakim Mohammad Füzuli. The sung melodies are based on traditional Azeri melodies that are sung in festivities and cheerful occasions. The mix of Farsi/Persian and Azeri lyrics in this piece pays tribute to the common Perso-Turkic culture and heritage that is currently evident in the Norooz celebrations of Iran, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Anatolia.