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December 06, 2017
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Iran's Pop Music Scene

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The Iranian government may have loosened its grip on the music scene in Iran. After Iran’s Islamic revolution, which took place in 1979, the country held strict laws on the types of music that could be performed within its territory. This led to many Iranian musicians moving abroad or performing underground. In recent years, however, the Iranian government has become much more flexible about music styles that can be performed within the country. Iranian musician Bardia Sadeghi recalls his early years performing in Iran:

“When I was young, I remember that performing music in certain places in Iran was very difficult. Music was widely prohibited. I remember, on one occasion, I was performing on live Iranian television but the cameraman would not film my instrument because the station did not have permission to broadcast musical instruments.”

During his early professional years, Bardia Sadeghi worked as a percussionist (Tombak) child prodigy in Iran.He currently sings and produces Persian Pop and Pop Folk music along with his brother Reza Sadeghi.

“During the 80s and 90s, performing traditional music in Iran was not as difficult as performing Western-style music. Pop music, on the other hand, was more problematic as one required special permission from the state to perform it, and most often it was banned altogether.”

The first evidence of Persian pop can be traced back to Viguen, a Persian musician that gave a public performance in the country using a Western guitar. The ensemble Black Cats are also considered pioneers of Persian pop, though the group was banned by the country’s Islamic rule and forced to move to the U.S. to continue performing. Bardia Sadeghi also moved away to Vancouver, though he admits that nowadays performing pop music in Iran is not nearly as difficult as it used to be:

“I’ve performed extensively in Iran. I’ve performed inIranian TV and Radio, as well as performed for two of Iran’s presidents.However, this involved folk and traditional music. Now that I’m living inCanada, I love performing here. Canada has a great multicultural scene. Here one can experiencedifferent cultures under a single roof, combining, mixing, and merging musicalstyles. There is a type of freedom performing music here that I really like. One of my mainobjectives now is to introduce Iranian music to the rest of the world.”

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