Kronos Quartet from San Francisco and the Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat recorded the beautiful song Vaya, Vaya while they were in isolation during the pandemic.

Each of the instruments and Mahsa’s voice were recorded separately and mixed by Zach Miley and the leader of Kronos, David Harrington. The text and the melody were made by Mahsa Vahdat and the arrangement was written by Atabak Elyasi.

Mahsa tells that the song is a strong declaration of love to her motherland, which she in this text personifies like a distant lover. Here are her own words:

“Vaya, Vaya is a deep expression of Love to a beloved, constantly transforming into a homeland. Since the pandemic arrived in March 2020, for more than one year the most visited place for me has been a place in Berkeley where the Rose garden is situated. I walked there almost every day at the time of Sunset, the moment when the Sun turns its glow to my motherland where my breath is interwoven with its soil, the moment when darkness and light embrace each other and when the intense red, dark blue and golden rays in the clouds create a unique image, while passion, rebellion, glow, hope and sorrow entwine.

With my deep longing and desire for my motherland these words and music came to me like a wonder. This zone in Berkeley is one of my dear zones in life. Wherever I roam in the world, this place will always remain in my heart”.

Vaya, Vaya was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet by the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies at Stanford University, with additional support from the Kronos Performing Arts Association.

Here is a translation of the lyrics by Dick Davis:

Vaya, Vaya

I’ll have wings in your air

I’ll be a wave in your voice

I’ll be a flame in your flickering heat, in my cries of wanting you

Bitterly I’ll twist in the veins of your vines

I’ll be a stubborn cloud in the tears of my grief for you

Vaya, Vaya

I’ll grow green in my sorrow for your passing years

I’ll stay in love in the sun above your mountain tops

I’ll be tears in the purity of your streams

at one with my limitless hope for you

Vaya, Vaya


Translator’s note: The title, “Vaya, Vaya,” is the same word twice: it is a lamentation, an expression of grief—while it is similar to “Alas!” in English, the Persian word here is more colloquial, so as to mean “O God!” or “God help me!”

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