Grammys 2023: “Baraye” by Shervin Hajipour Named Best Song for Social Change
Grammy Awards 2023 acknowledged Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour and gave him a special award for his song “Baraye.” His music received the honors for the Best Song for Social Change.
The music awards introduced a new Special Merit Award this year. First Lady Jill Biden presented the award to Iranian singer/songwriter Shervin Hajipour.
The 25-year-old pop singer joined the Iranian version of “American Idol,” but he was eliminated in the last round. He wrote the protest song after he finished his journey in the singing contest.
I screamed with delight after Baraye, the anthem of the Iranian uprising won the Grammy in the Best Song for Social Change category. Shervin Hajipour’s Baraye, is about the grievances of Iranians who long for a normal life. This is the soundtrack of revolution. #GRAMMYs https://t.co/AWyZaJs94E
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) February 6, 2023
“Baraye” became the song of protests that dominated Iran this past few months. Hajipour shared it on his Instagram account, which garnered over 40 million views in less than two days.
After his brave move of posting the song, the intelligence ministry arrested him, but the song still resonates worldwide for its powerful message of life, women, and freedom. It also depicts grief, anger, and desire for change.
Furthermore, he is out on bail but still waiting for his trial. After his release, he had only made one short video, according to the New York Times.
When Jill Biden presented the award, she said, “A song can unite, inspire and ultimately change the world.” She added that the song was “a powerful and poetic call for freedom and women’s rights.”
Absolutely incredible! #ShervinHajipour WINS Grammy Award in the category of “Best Song for Social Change” for “Baraye,” the anthem for the #IranRevolution. This is a huge victory for the courageous people of Iran and for #WomanLifeFreedom pic.twitter.com/ICept7VeOdADVERTISEMENT
— Dr. Nina Ansary (@drninaansary) February 6, 2023
Haijipour is currently in Iran and didn’t reply to any comment requests. But he posted on Instagram, “We won,” after he won the award.
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Moreover, a video circulated on social media captured the moment the singer heard his name on the screen. His friends watched the ceremony with him, and he seemed surprised while his friends cheered for him.
Spirit of Baraye
In a video clip he shared in October, he said, “I wrote this song in solidarity with the people who are critical of the situation like many of our artists who reacted.”
Protests sprung throughout Iran in September when girls and women demanded freedom from Islamic Republic’s hierocracy. It all started after Mahsa Amini’s death.
Amini is a 22-year-old female that the morality police captured due to an alleged violation of hijab policies. Iranians showed their support by using the #baraye and their tweets about why they are protesting.
A song ‘can ultimately change the world,’ said first lady Jill Biden as she presented the first-ever song for social change Grammy to Shervin Hajipour for his song ‘Baraye’ that became an anthem for the Iranian movement after the death of Mahsa Amini #GRAMMYs pic.twitter.com/0olhxqnCSH
— Reuters Showbiz (@ReutersShowbiz) February 6, 2023
Haijupour used these tweets and turned them into lyrics, then named the song after the circulating hashtag, “Baraye.” He composed and recorded it in his bedroom in the city of Babolsar.
For the last five months, whenever Iranians gather for celebrations, protests, concerts, funerals, or traffic jams, they sing “Baraye” in unison. In addition, Grammy’s recognition of the song will lift the song’s profile more.
The author of “Soundtrack of the Revolution: The Politics of Music in Iran,” Nahid Siamdoust, shared some insights. The writer said, “‘Baraye’ winning a Grammy sends the message to Iranians that the world has heard them and is acknowledging their freedom struggle.”
Moreover, “Baraye” has translations in different genres. It has opera and jazz in English, pop in Swedish, choir by French school children, and metal in Germany. It also has dance inspirations in Israel, verbatim in Ukraine, and Persia.
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