Iranian-Dutch Singer Sevdaliza on How Immigration Ban Inspired Her Reflective Song 'Bebin'
Since President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and immigrants from entering the country indefinitely, scores of musicians have spoken out against the ban, using social media to condemn the 45th POTUS and express their solidarity with those affected.
While many empathize, few in the industry have been directly affected -- but for Iranian-Dutch singer Sevdaliza, the impact has been all too real. Now unable to travel to the United States, Sevdaliza turned to music to vent her frustrations as well as extend love to others with her new song “Bebin," which means "to look" in the Persian language Farsi.
In hopes of further impacting others beyond music, the song’s sales are also being donated to “victims of racial exclusion.”
Below, Sevdaliza recalls her reaction to Trump's ban and discusses creating the unifying record "Bebin."
What was your initial reaction to Donald Trump's ban?
I am a strong believer that in the world of today, we are connected in ways we never thought possible. This truly enables us to change public discourse on critical issues. It is my responsibility, and the least I can do, to create art that can promote or support transformational change.
You wrote "Bebin" in Farsi. When did you decide to record this and what do you hope listeners take away from it, including those who may not speak the language?
Well… in this case I felt I am solely a messenger. There are times where I work on a piece of music for years. I wrote and composed "Bebin" about four days ago. Driven by something divine. Me and [the producer] Mucky finished "Bebin" within 48 hours. It was freeing because instead of zooming in, it was about the message. Simple and clear. It was my first introduction to writing in Farsi, which felt extremely natural. But then again, if the heart yearns for something, there's little left to stand in its way.
What remains your biggest concern about the ban?
My current concerns lie in how the relationship between humans and the use of technology in similar situations is developing. I personally believe that if you’re looking into the long-term effects, it’s a pessimistic state of affairs. The continual accumulation of technology brings with it desire and lust; as tech expands people’s capabilities, it makes people lust for more. It’s probable that through this desire, people will be destroyed at the hands of technology. One of the biggest concerns are that if a form of technology brings us some difficulty, we won’t get rid of it. Instead, we’ll use new technology to try and solve the old technology’s problems. The problems are within all of us.
How can people cope and come together in times like these?
There's much in the mirror but nothing in the room. I would like to get rid of the mirrors and face each other.
Listen to “Bebin” and see the English translation of the lyrics below. You can also purchase the song here.
Makes you feel grande
Yet this same feeling
Makes me feel small
Don't oblige me what to feel
If I don't feel it at all
You ask me how I feel
Yet close your eyes
To truth be told
Whatever it is you demand of me
My love for this world
My love personally
Is larger than life
This is my story