Tales and tears at Iranian indie rock remembrance

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More than 100 mourners and well-wishers attended a memorial for the murdered musicians at Williamsburg’s Cameo Gallery, ahead of a benefit concert with a packed line-up at the nearby Brooklyn Bowl.

“I am here to pay respects for the souls who have left this earth and support the people who have to pick up the pieces,” said Ghazaleh Khosravi, a close friend of the late musicians.

The memorial came a week after the shooting deaths of Ali Eskandrian, 35, Arash Farazamand, 28, and his brother Soroush Farazamand, 27, who were gunned down by another Iranian ex-pat musician at the Maujer Street townhouse the victims shared and played music in, according to police.

The memorial began outside with several dozen friends, family members, and fellow rockers gathering around a poster-board covered in photos of Eskadrian, a writer and musician, and the Farazamand brothers, both members of the dance-punk band the Yellow Dogs. Candles and yellow roses lined the foot of the shrine.

Similar collages stood against the bar inside, one for each of the men who, according to police, died at the hand of Ali Rafie, one-time bass player for the Yellow Dogs’ sister band the Free Keys. Rafie was kicked out of that band over philosophical disagreements and had no further contact with the victims until he broke into their house shooting early last Monday morning, according to a statement by surviving house-mates who were not home at the time. The methodical, room-by-room shooting grabbed headlines and shattered the tight-knit community of Persian rockers who fled the strict theocracy of Iran to seek musical freedom.

At the memorial, friends and fans hugged, cried and shared stories about the slain men.

“He was probably the single most creative person I ever knew in my life,” said Nima Farkhah of Eksandarian, who he met in college.

Farkhah traveled all the way from Dallas to attend the ceremony one a day after a family service was held for the writer there.

“It’s unreal,” he said. “It still does not seem real.”

Yellow Dogs bassist Koory Mirzeai, one of two surviving band members, stood stricken, greeting friends in a whisper. He did not address the crowd.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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