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Iranian musical rebel risks prison (again) over new album

Mehdi Rajabian's 'Coup of Gods' competes for 2022 Grammy Award

Iranian composer and producer Mehdi Rajabian has been banned, imprisoned, tortured and thrown into solitary confinement, becoming one of the most discussed Middle Eastern musicians of the past decade. (Courtesy of Mehdi Rajabian)

TEHRAN -- A haunting cello melody cuts through a somber bass background like a sharp saw biting into ancient, hardened wood. "Whip on a Lifeless Body," the dark opening track of "Coup of Gods," the latest album by Iranian composer and producer Mehdi Rajabian, plumbs the deepest meaning of music -- and may turn out to be the renegade Middle Eastern artist's last cry of protest.

"[In that song] we tried to create the suspended space of the earth and the sky," said Rajabian, who was listed among the world's top 10 rebel artists in a 2018 poll by the World Journalism Organization.

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