By Amil Imani:
Freddie’s Family Roots
Freddie Mercury, perhaps one of the most eccentric, enigmatic, talented and gifted vocalists in the 20th century was born Farrokh Bulsara, on September 5, 1946 in modern-day Tanzania. Farrokh is a popular Persian name meaning fortunate and happy. Farrokh’s family followed the Zoroastrian faith and they were the original Persians who were forced to flee from Persia to India to save their lives, their culture and religion. They left all their possessions behind and took with them their honor, dignity and Avesta or Zend-avesta, the sacred book of Zoroastrianism, the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra). According to his sister, Freddie Mercury’s Zoroastrian faith inspired him to follow his dream. Freddie was proud of his Persian roots.
In the 7th century AD, Freddie’s original motherland, Persia, the present-day Iran, the cradle of civilization and the land of Cyrus the Great (the first author of the Human Rights Charter) — was ravaged by Muslim hordes. The upstanding Persian people who lived by the great Zoroaster’s triad of Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds (goftare nik, pendare nik, kerdare nik, in Persian) stood no chance against the newly converted Muslims of Arabia, as had been promised by Muhammad: if you kill or you get killed, either way you will be admitted to Allah’s gloriously lush paradise for eternity in compensation.
For centuries, the Zoroastrians paid heavily in all manner under the rule of converted Muslims. Those who moved to India during the 9th and 10th centuries are called Paresis or Persians, an exclusive minority in India that is revered and respected by the entire Indian population. As refugees, they never asked for handouts or special privileges. They worked hard and provided jobs to millions.
It is worth mentioning on 21 December 2013 Dr. Khosro Khazai Pardis gave an impassioned speech titled: Zoroastrian Renaissance in Iran, And the Parsi community in India:
“1400 years later, our generation, is witnessing and living the second Muslim invasion of Iran. A strange game of destiny wanted that we experience an extraordinary repeat of history. Once again, the Iranians are projected 1400 years back in time, living the same events that our common ancestors lived during the first Muslim invasion. Once again, the Iranians had to run away from Islam and Islamic rules. This time on a much larger scale than the previous time: since 1979 more than five million Iranians had to flee Iran, mostly for western countries. Even though these two big migrations have been produced by the same cause, that is the Islamic invasion, the difference between these two forced migrations is important.”
Like many young adults, I too loved music. Ever since I was little, I had a passion for drumming. I would literally go around the house and just hit things, trying to get a beat going. When I was about 10 years old, my mother finally bought me my first used drum kit. I kept it in my hideout, the basement. Almost every night, I would go down there, jam out and learn more beats.
To me, music was an international language that had no barriers. Music inspired me to write poetry. Music is meant to create an emotional effect, irrespective of where we are in the world. The influence of an old song can spark vivid memories and will take us back in time and space. The songs and music that we love become intertwined into our memory with the people and places, during our lifetime.
I must confess, I was not much into Freddie’s “eccentric and flamboyant stage persona.” Perhaps that was the reason for not paying much attention to his music back in the 80s. However, when, for the first time, I listened to the song, Bohemian Rhapsody, it took my breath away. It was truly a masterpiece. It took Freddie seven years to write this magnificent epic that was released in 1975 and that would define his life and his career forever.
Rami Malek’s performance in the 2018 movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” took me by storm. For the two hours of this film, Rami brought Freddie back to life. He resurrected him. Now I wanted to know everything about the man who revolutionized rock and roll. The man who rose above and beyond everyone else, breaking the glass ceiling and all musical boundaries.
The 1985 Live Aide Concert in Wembley stadium, London, UK, basically immortalized Freddie forever and elevated him into a category all by himself. For twenty-two minutes, England was ruled by another Queen. Twenty-two minutes when the world stood still. Queen stole the show big time and no one can take ever that away from them.
“Freddie Mercury, elevated rock vocals to operatic heights. Whether you love his intense, soaring vibrato or not, there’s no denying his unmatched virtuosity.” Freddie was born a genius, a poet and loved Shakespeare. He was the Mozart of his time. He altered the way we visualized and felt music. Freddie was a perfectionist.
I have always wondered, if it is possible that any one person can sing and play more meaningful, sincere and magnificent in such way that Freddie had played? I feel like he had done it all. His mission was accomplished, and now he had joined the company of Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Demis Roussos, Luciano Pavarotti and many more. All those who I considered geniuses of their time and now they all are immortal until the end of time.
These are moments and times that words fail miserably in expressing the tumult of inner-feelings when the exalted emotions within are reduced into trite words. Yet, words are all I can share.
Elizabeth Taylor said it best when she called Freddie “an extraordinary rock star who rushed across our cultural landscape like a comet shooting across the sky.” And while that comet departed us long ago, his light is still shining bright.
© Copyright by Amil Imani, 2019. All rights reserved.
Email Amil: firstname.lastname@example.org