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Nazanin Afshin-Jam performs at Borders Bookstore where she gave an acoustic performance promoting both her latest CD and her human rights efforts in Chicago, Illinois on June 29, 2007. (STEVE C. MITCHELL/STEVE C. MITCHELL/EPA)
Nazanin Afshin-Jam performs at Borders Bookstore where she gave an acoustic performance promoting both her latest CD and her human rights efforts in Chicago, Illinois on June 29, 2007. (STEVE C. MITCHELL/STEVE C. MITCHELL/EPA)

Nazanin Afshin-Jam

Add sexy singing to impressive talents of MacKay's new bride Add to ...

The woman Defence Minister Peter MacKay married has an impressive résumé. Nazanin Afshin-Jam holds degrees in international relations and political science and is the co-founder and president of Stop Child Executions, a human-rights group committed to focusing attention on young people who are on death row in Iran. She is an Iranian-born pilot and former Miss World Canada who also enjoyed moderate success as a mono-named singer.

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The multilingual Nazanin (as she was known professionally) released the album Someday in 2007, on the international independent label Bodog Music. Judging by the audio and video material on YouTube and her Myspace page, she mixes sweeping politically conscious anthems with sugary pop and sexy dance and world music – a stylistic combination that may have hooked the fishing federal Mr. McKay and left him defenceless.

I Dance For You: To a skittering dance beat, a breathy Nazanin puts the purr in Persian-Canadian, sing-whispering such sweet-nothings as “I dance for you, I move for you / It’s in your eyes, your breath upon my lips / I dance for you, you are my lover.” In the song’s video, Nazanin dances alluringly in a sort of flamenco manner, runs her hands through her plentiful dark hair, caresses a small tree, runs around aimlessly and writhes Madonna-like in a candlelit bed aside religious props.

I Do: An insulin-inducing love song that could easily serve as a marital vow. “I will love you, believe me I do,” sings Nazanin, her pledge oddly mixing future and present tenses. The former beauty queen finishes the chorus in a pitchy coo, “and I will say I do for you.”

Someday (The Revolution Song): Looking like a desirable cross of Salma Hayek and Brooke Shields, Nazanin appears in this video as a balladic proponent of “progressive revolution,” rather than Iran’s “regressive revolution” of 1979. Iconic protest footage involving Tiananmen Square, the Berlin Wall and Nelson Mandela intersects with Nazanin singing importantly, yet obviously (and cheaply) superimposed in front of a formal string section. Later, in what might pass as a business suit, she addresses an unseen forum, ending her short speech with “and some day, is right now.”

Forever: An upbeat dance number has Nazanin singing her romantic allegiance in both of Canada’s official languages. The use of Auto-Tune pitch-correcting software is clearly heard on a highly euphoric and melodic track.

You’re Calling Me: A strummed acoustic number bops to a pleasing mid-tempo beat. A sitar appears at one point, an obvious nod to the artist’s Middle Eastern heritage. The catchy number, which concerns a troubled phone-based relationship, ends in a fadeout of chanting na-na-na-na-nas.

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