Kamyar Jarahzadeh aka Yavaran brings us to the dance floor once again, this time with a wedding-themed mixtape in time for Valentine’s Day. This mix highlights the shared happiness and culture that surrounds the region’s marriage celebrations.
As the Ajam Media Collective mixtape series nears the double digits, we present this roundup of previous mixtapes to allow you to catch up on any mixes you may have missed, or give you a chance to revisit your favorites.
Ajam’s latest podcast, this time featuring shared songs across from Southwest Asia. With samplings from Persian, Greek, Turkish, Arab and other language groups, this mixtape emphasizes the kinds of oft-forgotten transnational connections that exist in music.
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.
The post-Soviet art of Central Asia and the Caucasus comes out of a Soviet-era conversation of artistic styles that looks not just to Moscow but also to Mecca. An understanding of the high and low registers of this Soviet cultural heritage allows the humor and self-confidence of the work to be appreciated — aesthetically as well as financially — by audiences.
Shahzad’s rap attempts a resurrection not only of a distinct Sindhi language, but also a Sindhi culture. His songs aren’t just in Sindhi, he also sees them as a continuation of the long Sindhi tradition of Sufi poems. While other Pakistani rappers, prominently BillyX, rap about topics deeply taboo in Pakistani society – sex and intoxicants – Shahzad seeks to reinvigorate a more traditional subject matter. But why through rap? Why resuscitate a tradition through a medium that is foreign to it? He likens it to wearing western dress when going to school; the medium does not compromise the message.
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>)
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.