In the 1980s, new Iranian musicians in the United States joined communities of other diaspora performers from Greece, Armenia, and the Arab World. In cities like New York and Los Angeles, these communities not only lived side-by-side but built upon the shared foundations between their cultures. Just as Middle Eastern markets in Los Angeles typically have bargain bins of CDs and tapes with music from across the region, instrumentalists from different countries often performed alongside each other.
Our mix this month presents a seemingly unorthodox combination: avant-garde and folk music from Iran and the region. The goal with this month’s podcast was to continue presenting samples of Iran’s many musical traditions in a multitude of forms to show the variety and ongoing development of Iran’s diverse folk music traditions. (Photo Credit: Shahrokh Dabiri)
Our latest mixtape by our Digital Resident, Kamyar aka Yavaran. Here he takes us through a sampling of jazz from the 1950s through the present to tell the history of Iran’s relationship with jazz. Track list includes songs from Duke Ellington, Viguen, 127 Band, and others.
Ajam brings you a mix that attempts to capture a wide range of some of the influential voices in the current Iranian hip-hop scene. The beats and production work have audibly international influences, with traditional instruments like the santoor coexisting with bass-heavy hip-hop drums. Between so many styles, multiple languages, and multiple aesthetics, Iranian rap never fails to tell its own story. (Graffiti Cover image: Elf Crew a>)
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.
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.
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.