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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
In a world where politicians like to create and emphasize differences between the so-called “West” and Iran, and even regional differences in the country itself, Ajam Band and its musical forefathers allow us musical glimpses of Iran that embrace paradox and encourage Iranians and non-Iranians alike to turn to their identities, as mixed and incoherent as they may be, as a source of pride.
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.