Sunday's Calendar section features a look at two recently compiled collections of pre-revolutionary Persian rock and pop music, which serves as a reminder of the exhuberant modern culture that developed in the country before the 1979 Islamic revolution single-handedly halted the movement.
This week the label Now-Again Records will release a collection of Persian rock from singer/guitarist Kourosh Yaghmaei called "Back From the Brink: Pre-Revolution Psychedelic Rock From Iran: 1973-1979." And L.A./U.K.-based label B-Music/Finders Keepers had a similar mission when they resurrected the lost singles and B-sides of Iran's biggest female pop star, Googoosh, with the self-titled "Googoosh."
You can read the story here, but if you're curious to hear the music, below is a free download from Kourosh's "Back from the Brink." It's a song called “Hajme Khali,” and it captures the essence of what writer Jessica Hundley describes in her story: "Working, like Googoosh, from traditional Persian influences, Kourosh developed a unique crossbreed, mixing the classical sounds of his early musical training (he first learned to play on the santur, an Iranian version of a violin) with thoroughly Western instrumentation. He and his band embraced bass, electric guitar and a propulsive rock 'n' roll drumming and the result was music that captured a vibrantly expressive era."
Translated, the song title means "Empty Bulk," and according to Now-Again's consistently engaging and informative liner notes, the song tells "a story about the sorrow and grief of a human who, even when he is in love, feels lonely. This horrible loneliness and endless sorrow is with him his whole life."
Download: Kourosh Yaghmaei - "Hadjme Khali" [MP3]
-- Randall Roberts
Photo: Iranian rock star Kourosh Yaghmaei in the 1970s. Credit: Courtesy Now Again Records