Iran hosting first Western concert in decades

Chris de Burgh set for November performance

Singer Chris de Burgh will stage a concert in Tehran with an Iranian band in late November, the first such concert in the country in nearly 30 years, an Iranian satellite news channel reported on its Web site.

De Burgh, who has a loyal following in Iran, visited for the first time in May and said he hoped the authorities would give him permission to perform.

The Irish-born singer will perform with Iranian band Arian.

"The concert is scheduled to be held in the last week of November at Azadi Indoor Stadium in Tehran, which seats 12,000 people," said Majid Roqani, the head of public relations at Taraneh Sharqi Cultural and Artistic Company.

Roqani was quoted by the Web site of Press TV, Iran's state-owned English-language satellite channel.

The concert will be the first time since the 1979 revolution that an Iranian pop band played alongside a Western singer inside the Islamic Republic.

Western pop songs with lyrics are banned by Iran's authorities, though state radio sometimes plays instrumental versions. Iranian pop bands say their lyrics and tunes are vetted before they can be officially sold in Iran.

Pirate versions of the latest Western albums or songs by underground Iranian groups are available on the black market.

Arian and de Burgh recorded a song called "A Light for Eternity." That song was played at the cultural center where De Burgh held a news conference in the Iranian capital in May.