Hayedeh (Persian: هایده), born Masoumeh Dadehbala (معصومه دده بالا), (April 10, 1942 – January 20, 1990) was an Iranian singer with a contralto vocal range. In a career spanning more than two decades, she had countless number of hits. Two decades after her death, Hayedeh is considered one of the most influential and iconic Persian vocalists of all time and is still recognized as one of the Iran's most famous and distinguished singers of the 20th century.
Early life and career
Hayedeh was born in Tehran. She is the older sister of another famous Persian singer, Mahasti.
Hayedeh's professional career began in 1968 at the age of twenty six as a singer on a Persian traditional music Tehran Radio program called "Golhaa-yeh Rangarang" (Colorful Flowers)( گلهای رنگارنگ) directed by Davoud Pirnia. She studied Avaz (Persian vocal music) with the Persian violinist and composer Ali Tajvidi. "Azadeh" which was composed by Ali Tajvidi, and was written by Rahi Moayeri, was Hayedeh's first official hit. It was first performed in 1968 on Radio Tehran with the Gol-ha Orchestra and was later released by Apolon Records.
In the 1970s Hayedah added Persian pop music to her classical Persian repertoire. In this period Hayedeh worked with several songwriters, such as Fereydoun Khoshnoud, Jahanbakhsh Pazouki, Anoushiravan Rohani and Mohammad Heydari. "Bezan Tar", "Gol-e Sang", "Nowrouz Aamad", "Eide Tou" and "Soghati" were among her works during this period.
After the revolution and in exile
On August 29, 1978, shortly before the Iranian Revolution , Hayedeh emigrated to the United Kingdom. She stayed there for three years and moved to the United States in 1982 to continue her career and live close to her sister Mahasti.
Hayedeh lived in Los Angeles from 1982 until the end of her life. The growth of the Persian community in Southern California due to the increasing number of people leaving Iran after the revolution bolstered Hayedeh's career in the 1980s. Heyedeh released many successful albums during this time and all her songs were bootlegged in Iran. Hayedeh's political and nostalgic songs such as "Rouza-ye Roshan Khodahafez" and Faryad became very popular with the Persian (Iranian) exile community. Some of her other hits were "Shabeh Eshgh", "Gol Vajeh", "Ravi", "Bahaneh", "Eshareh", "Ghesseyeh Man", "Zendegi", "Nargeseh Shirazi" and many more. Hayedeh's songwriters and producers in the US were mostly Farid Zoland, Sadegh Nojouki, Mohammad Heydari and Andranik. Lyricists she worked with were Ardalan Sarfaraz, Esmaeel Navabe Safa, Bijan Taraghi and Homa Mir-Afshar. The lyricist that wrote more than 30 of Hayedeh's songs and hits was her best friend Leila Kasra (aka Hedieh) whom was featured in many of her albums reciting her poems. Kasra died a few months prior to Hayedeh death, after a long struggle with breast cancer. According to friends of Hayedeh, Hayedeh became very depressed after the death of Kasra.
During the 80's Hayedeh played sold-out venues in the US, Canada, Europe, Israel and other places in the world.
During her exile, Hayedeh regularly appeared on the Los Angeles Persian TV channel Jaam-E-Jam. She recorded more than 40 music videos at Jaam-E-Jam Studio. Hayedeh criticized Iran's fundamental regime in some of her TV programs.
Hayedeh married three times and had three children named Kamran, Keyvan and Noushin Nouri, all of whom live in the US. Her eldest grandson, Soheil, who is the first born son of Keyvan Nouri, is currently pursuing a career as a freelance composer in Los Angeles.
On January 20, 1990, some hours after a concert at the Casablanca Club in San Francisco, California, Hayedeh died from a heart attack at the age of 47. Hayedeh had a history of diabetes and hypertension as well as alcohol abuse and was a smoker which led to her poor health shortly before her death. Her father was also a diabetic who died from a heart attack. Her two older brothers died of heart attacks, as well. She also dealt with depression after being exiled from Iran up until her death.
Khosrow Motarjemi, a Persian IT expert in California, recorded a video of this three and a half hour concert, which for unknown reasons has never been officially released. That night Hayedeh told the audience: "Life is like an express train...I am going to the House of God. Who knows what will happen in the future; I may not be alive tomorrow...", then she performed one of her last songs, “Man Mikham Be Khoune ye Khoda Beram” (I want to go to the House of God). The song’s lyricist, Leila Kasra (Hedieh) who was Hayedeh's best friend, died of cancer a few months before Hayedeh.
Hayedeh's death shocked and saddened Persians around the world. On January 24, 1990, Hayedeh was buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. Her funeral was attended by thousands and most of the Persian singers and entertainers in exile.
Hayedeh was recording an album shortly before her death and was due to finish recording it after she returned from her concert in San Francisco. Hayedeh was last interviewed one week before her death. The magazine which had the interview was released a day after her death, the issue became a bestseller. In the interview Hayedeh said that she was tired of rumors about her and said that she was going to continue her work and expand it even more.
Hayedeh's albums are still best sellers and her songs are constantly played on Persian TV and radio channels. Many of her ageless songs are sung by famous Persian pop singers. Houshmand Aghili performed Hayedeh’s "Sarab", Parviz Rahman Panah remixed her "Saal", Shahla Sarshar performed a tragic song called "In Memory of Hayedeh", singer Amir did a cover of Hayedeh's song "Soghati" in 2008 and Mahasti performed three songs in memory of her late sister. She is considered the queen of Persian music by most Iranians. To this day she still is the one and only Persian female vocalist with a contralto voice. According to Prof. Erik Nakhjavani in Encyclopedia Iranica: "Analogues to Delkash, before her, Hayedeh sang with technical authority and passionate energy. Her laryngeal control made it possible for her to produce a series of graceful vibrato and glissando vocalizations required by the Avaz Persian vocal music. She could smoothly pass from the upper reaches of her alto voice to the lower, fuller, and darker range of the contralto. This mixture of strong laryngeal strength and learned vocal technique gave her alto-contralto voice a rare, powerful resonance and texture in the performance of the Avaz. Furthermore an acute sense for musical timing, the rhythmic flow of vocal music, affective musical phrasing, and poetic delivery enabled her to express and interpret effectively any songs she sang.
As of 2007 Hayedeh's albums are sold on iTunes.
DocumentaryMain article: Hayedeh Legendary Persian Diva
Persian pianist and journalist Pejman Akbarzadeh has made a documentary about Hayedeh which was screened in Amsterdam in January 2009 for the first time. The documentary had its US premier in May 2009 at Noor Film Festival in Los Angeles and nominated as the Best Documentary at the festival. The film was also screened at 9th International Exile Film Festival (Sweden) and 4th Iranian Film Festival in Holland.
The documentary is going to be released on 20 January 2010, the 20th death anniversary of Hayedeh. The DVD will be released by Persian Dutch Network in Amsterdam.