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Sahand Sahebdivani is the Iranian founder and the face of Mezrab. For years Sahand and his family invited guests over into their living room to listen to his parents: his father, Ali, was able to tell heroic stories and his mother, Parwin, enchanted the guests with her voice when she sang Iranian songs. Sahand translated his father’s stories into Dutch or English for those who did not understand Farsi and he would play instruments to accompany his mother while she sang.

As time went by, increasing numbers of people wanted to enjoy the living room activities at the Sahebdivani house. In order to fit the growing crowd, Sahand rented a little tea house in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam – this was the first Mezrab back in 2003. Over the time, Mezrab was forced to relocate to increasingly larger venues in order to accommodate the evergrowing volumes of people. At the beginning of 2015, Mezrab moved to its current venue in the “Pakhuis Wilhelmina”, the Wilhelmina Warehouse, which can accommodate approximately 250 people. This was partially made possible by a successful crowdfunding that was initiated to afford the relocation to this bigger venue. 

This text is part of the Fadoua Boufarrahs thesis “Mezrab – Reciprocity and Sense of Belonging in an Alternative Cosmopolitan Space in Amsterdam”. Universiteit van Amsterdam, June 2016

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