Tag Archives: activist

Voice Of America Feature #2: Sohrab The Music Activist


Photo by Jessica Peng
Photo by Jessica Peng

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Here is a link to a Voice Of America feature of NY’s street musicians Busking in New York- Part 2 which is in Farsi.

The director is Melody Safavi (Abjeez). She features and interviews a brass band, a piano player, an official of the NY Subway, a group of subway break dancers, a violinist,…and Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi (leader of the band SoSaLa).

Melody’s coverage proved that NY’s street musicians are hard working people and are not “just” entertainers or “artists”, but WORKERS!

In this film report Sohrab is featured not just as a musician (he’s shown playing on his tenor saxophone in a tunnel), but also as a music activist who speaks about musicians’ rights.

In Farsi he explains and describes that musicians are not different from other workers. They work like anybody else and should be respected for “their work” and get paid fairly like any qualified worker.

He also explains why he calls himself an activist.

Due to this feature which went on air Saturday, September 20, 2014, Sohrab has received some positive responses from Iran.

Sohrab performing in various social actions and campaigns

Sohrab – Local 802 (Musicians) Union Member

Sohrab joined the musicians’ union Local 802 in May 2012. Read about Sohrab in Allegro (the union’s monthly paper, Volume 113 No. 8 September, 2013) here: http://www.local802afm.org/2013/09/why-we-joined-the-union-45/

Since then he’s been supporting the union’s Justice For Jazz Artists campaign. He attended almost all their rallies and documented them in their on-line magazine DooBeeDooBeeDoo:

Justice for Jazz Musicians – and Pensions?

Today Musicians Union Local 802 AFM and “Justice for Jazz Artists” Marched In Solidarity With Labor in NYC!

“Jazz Built This!” NYC Jazz Musicians to Protest Club Owners Who Deny Promised Benefits to Jazz Musicians.


Why has Sohrab been involved in this movement? Because as a music activist he feels that NY’s musicians haven’t been treated and paid fairly by their employers. And the public should know about it. Musicians need to be respected in the same way like other working people. They need the same benefits, such as health insurance, pension, fair salaries, etc.

He believes that all jazz clubs should be boycotted. Beginning with the BLUE NOTE and The Village Vanguard. 6 years of union work have created the platform for all musicians in New York to speak out loud about the exploitation of musicians by the clubs. The time has come that all musicians of New York and NOT only jazz musicians go into “real” action and let the clubs know and remind them that they have to stick to their promise that the amount of the waived sales tax sale would go into the musicians pension fund.

Please support him in this movement!

Sohrab – The Activist

* Sohrab was invited to open up the political debate “Questions, Challenges And New Visions In A Conversation Between Fred Ho & Eric Mann” with his sax which took place at The National Black Theater in New York, Monday, June 3, 2013.

He started his performance with a new song “Sohrab’s Shushtari” and flew into the revolutionary song “Welcome New Iran.”

Sohrab – Supporting The Green Movement NY in 2009

Check out this video: Sohrab playing sax at Neda’s vigil (Union Square/NY, 6/24/, video by Tak Irani)

This video expresses very well what music is and should be about, doesn’t it?

Music isn’t just played for the sake of entertainment.

Since mid of June 2009 till the end of 2009 Sohrab has been playing at rallies, panels and art events which were supporting the GREEN MOVEMENT.


On July 25th, 2009 Sohrab played in the Global Day of Action for Iran march and at the rally at the UN in New York.

New York joined 85 cities on 6 continents around the world to protest human rights abuses in Iran. CNN, VOICE OF AMERICA and other media broadcasted live from the march and rally.

Besides Sohrab following performers participated:
– Fared Shafinury
– Freedom Glory Project
– Haale

When Fared Shafinury, a young Iranian musican and singer from Austin, was playing he called Sohrab up on stage to play with him on the song Yare Dabestani. Fared also asked Esfand on daf to join them.

For Sohrab this performance was something special. With Fared together he was able to make music transcend music. Music became an expression of life. Music was life! And the audience enjoyed them like shit!


Sohrab is performing his new song Welcome New Iran which he composed during the rallies. And which is dedicated to the birth of the Iranian revolution.

Sohrab and many Iranians gathered in New York City on September 23, 24th of 2009 to protest against the cruel government of Iran and Ahmadinejad’s presence in New York City. From protesting in front of the United Nations, to protesting in front of Ahmadinejad’s hotel in New York, to marching across the Brooklyn Bridge with the green scroll, they demanded HUMAN RIGHTS for our fellow countrymen. The Green Scroll had been a collaborative efforts of 90 countries from around the world, and it was covered with signatures of Iranians demanding a democratic government for Iran.

A rose in Sohrab's sax (at the UN rally July 24th)
A rose in Sohrab’s sax (at the UN rally July 24th)