Life is now turn­ing the right way for Sa­harnez


MU­SIC and singing has al­ways been a se­cret pas­sion for Sa­harnez. For so long it had to be, for her own safety.

Grow­ing up in Iran, women were not al­lowed to sing or per­form in pub­lic. When Sa­harnez was 11, po­lice burst into her school’s small mu­si­cal con­cert and smashed all the stu­dents’ gui­tars. She didn’t pick up an in­stru­ment for sev­eral years. “I didn’t want to play be­cause I was shocked,,’’ she says, now 23 and liv­ing in Mel­bourne.

Sa­harnez’s fa­ther Ma­jid in­tro­duced her to the mu­sic of his idols Pink Floyd. One song, Com­ing Back to Life, res­onated: “I took a heav­enly ride through our si­lence, I knew the mo­ment had ar­rived, For killing the past and com­ing back to life’’.

“My fa­ther said to me, ‘Lis­ten to the mu­sic that changes your life, not just the mu­sic that doesn’t give any­thing to you’. When I was around 11 or 12, I thought, ‘Life is fin­ished, every­thing is black and there is no love any more’. But, ev­ery time I lis­tened to this song, it gave me be­lief.’’

Now years later and half a world away, Sa­harnez is singing Pink Floyd for a new al­bum, Su­garmill Road, pro­duced by Gan­ga­jang and Yothu Yindi gui­tarist Robbie James for The Scat­tered Peo­ple.

When Sa­harnez told her fa­ther, still liv­ing in Tehran, it was only the sec­ond time in her life she had seen him cry. The first was when she left Iran in May 2013 for In­done­sia, then went by boat to Christ­mas Is­land. Sa­harnez spent three months in de­ten­tion there and in Dar­win, be­fore ar­riv­ing in Bris­bane as a refugee.

“I tried to for­get mu­sic a cou­ple of times. I stud­ied in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy. I try to run away all the time from mu­sic and arts but fi­nally I un­der­stand that, ‘No, I’m not this per­son. I love th­ese things’.

“In my head, all my wish was that one day I (can) go to Pink Floyd’s con­cert. All the love I have for Pink Floyd and their songs, the mean­ing of their songs ... I can­not be­lieve I sing their songs. It’s too big for me. It’s amaz­ing.’’

FIND­ING HER VOICE: Ira­nian singer Sa­harnez is en­joy­ing life in Aus­tralia.

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