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Guerrilla Poets Meet Yas Persian 2’s Live Crew

“Singing of my land, is my feeling, My love – the earth of this land – Iraaaan.” These are some of the lyrics of the popular rap star Yas from Tehran, Iran, who was a surprise “featured artist” at last night’s Guerrilla Poetry Open Air Open Mic. Yas, along with partner artists Farinaz, Sogand, and Mita, and a tremendous djembe drummer whose name I deeply regret that I can’t remember, performed a stunning musical set to cap off a night where over 20 performers blessed the mic beside the fountain we rock at every first and third Monday.

They didn’t perform in English, but the sweet sounds of Yas’ and the two young women’s melodic voices and rapid lyrics, Mita’s acoustic guitar, and Kima(?)’s keeping the drum beat, caught the interest of all who passed by on this comfortable late Monday evening which almost ended early when our original power source died at 8:50. These new friends of ours explained that they are in the United States as part of a cultural exchange program that will take them to Memphis, San Francisco, and other U.S. locations to perform their music, some of which will appear on Yas’ upcoming album.

The night was a special night from beginning to end. I counted 20 artists who kept the consciousness flowing like a fountain of resistance, as the circle filled with approving spectators and sidewalk chalk extraordiannaires. Some of the GPI superstars sang and spoke their grooves like Mo’s “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay” and Laurie singing her and Jessica’s piece “Together we are one.” It was great to meet Raj, and here his eloquent and unique Indian rap tune (this was in English), and to welcome Kit from Code Pink updating us on the discouraging positions of our presidential candidates on the issue of the possibility of war with Iran. All I could think while Shamar (another Iranian cultural exchange performer who played for us during the open mic) was jamming, was this is what we have to fight for.

But it was one of those nights when the looks in people’s eyes and the absence of any of the racism or even the stereoptypes that devastate our world, made me feel as I said I did at the U.S. Social Forum last week: like we are having an impact. I can’t think of a better way we could have spent the Monday of the week of the 4th of July. To hear Yas’ Iranian rap, visit him at or Farinaz and Sogand are at


  1. Was a lovely night — this is the magic — people coming together and creating art together — and not just art for art’s sake — but art to inform, educate and raise all of us higher.

    Comment by Laurie Blair — July 6, 2007 @ 10:00 am

  2. I’m a Jamaican Poet YASUS AFARI with an interest in Yas’s poetry

    One Love to all Humanity

    Comment by YASUS AFARI — May 12, 2009 @ 9:46 am

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The DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (GPI) is an anti-authoritarian, collaborative, pro-humanity artists' collective incorporating music, rhythm, spoken word, community and resistance.

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