This tag is associated with 16 posts

The King Hasn’t Left The Building: An Oral History of an Afghan Musical Icon, Ahmad Zahir

Ahmad Zahir, the major Afghan pop singer of the 1970s, died mysteriously in 1979, a year of upheaval and turmoil in Afghanistan’s political history. Since then, many Afghans, in diaspora and in Afghanistan, maintain a special relationship with Ahmad Zahir and his music. This article explores the memory of one family in using Ahmad Zahir as a way to connect to their homeland. Continue reading »

Shirin Mozaffari’s Tarab: How to Listen to Music, Soundlessly

In an e-mail conversation with Ajam Media Collective, Mozaffari said that Tarab “essentially represents the musically induced state of ecstasy transmitted by a performer to the audience through the syntax of music.” Continue reading »

Ajam Mixtape #3: Sounds of Nowruz

The Ajam Family would like to wish you all a very happy Nowruz and spring season. Enjoy this podcast, which collects the sounds of festivities from the different parts of the world that celebrate this joyous day. Continue reading »

Ajam Mixtape #2: Psychedelic Sounds from Iran and Beyond

This mix attempts to break away from looking at psychedelic rock as a Manichean battlefield between “eastern” and “western” sounds and instead, showcases how this genre allowed Iranian artists to engage in musical conversations with Western music, local sounds, and the sounds of neighboring countries. Thus, psychadelic music, which itself emerged from the interactions between young Western artists and Indian Classical Music, served as a platform for Iranian artists to inventively experiment as well. Continue reading »

Ajam Mixtape #1: Iranian Contemporary Music in a Global Context

This first podcast in our series is a look at Iranian contemporary music in a global context. The music in this mix not only crosses between the genres of hip-hop, rock, and electronic, but also crosses geographic borders. This mix features not only Iranian artists in Iran and in the diaspora, but also a number of non-Iranian acts with whom their music is in conversation. Continue reading »

Whose Anatolia? Mapping Complexities and Shared Histories Between Kurds, Armenians, and Turks

There are mountains and there are roads. From an airplane, Eastern Anatolia looks like Frankenstein’s monster as the craggy mountains of the Zargos, Tarsus, and Caucasus ranges collide with geologic logic, sutured together by some of the finest roadways in the world. The modern republics facing this jagged jumble are as powerful as that monster, but perhaps also as hollow. Continue reading »

A Year in Ajam: Revisiting Our Best Articles of 2013

In 2013, we covered a wide variety of topics ranging from gender and sexuality politics in contemporary Iranian cinema to the attractions of Zionism to Iran’s pre-revolutionary elites, provoking a great deal of controversy along the way. Check out our ten most-viewed articles from 2013.
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Raags to Riches: Globalism and Vernacular in Contemporary Pakistani Rap

Languages such as Punjabi and Pashto offer a versatile slang to many a Pakistani street. And the streets are where lyrics overwhelmingly situate rap. The introduction of Punjabi-American rap into Pakistan invigorated its rappers by furnishing them with a vernacular familiar with their experiences. Far from a shadow of its American progenitor, contemporary Pakistani rap thrives in engaged dialectic with local and global trends in the genre. Continue reading »

Music and Race Politics in the Iranian Persian Gulf: Shanbehzadeh and “Bandari”

A guest post by Kamyar Jarahzadeh, a student at UC Berkeley focusing on migration and forced migration in Turkey and the Middle East. Read his earlier post on Iranian pop music. Persian art music is a major part of the Iranian musical tradition, but, often times, it seems to be the only musical tradition in the … Continue reading »

How Good Is Arash's Persian? The Politics of Language & Identity in Diaspora Iranian Pop Music

A guest post by Kamyar Jarahzadeh, a student at UC Berkeley focusing on migration and forced migration in Turkey and the Middle East. Like the modern music of most cultures, a survey of the modern Iranian pop scene would produce a pretty standard variety of artists and genres. The Iranian music video (“Clip”) shows that broadcast … Continue reading »