Kronos Quartet, Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat: Placeless

Can art and politics remain separate? Can musicians avoid banning? Can corrupt leaders escape satire? Freedom is everywhere in the imagination and often scarce in the real world. Songs from a beautiful album like Placeless ought to navigate auditoriums, airwaves and digital channels everywhere; and yet, doesn’t conflict pump … More Kronos Quartet, Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat: Placeless

Ooldouz Pouri: Waiting for the Dawn

Flowers, dreams and music have this in common: They bloom even in harsh climes. An elegant example is Waiting for the Dawn, Ooldouz Pouri’s first solo album. The hour of sunrise, even the year, may be in doubt. The point is that she sings—passionately, radiantly—her voice floating on songs from bygone eras that inspire hope in difficult times. Pouri was born in Tabriz, in northwestern Iran, where … More Ooldouz Pouri: Waiting for the Dawn

Maureen Nehedar: Gole Gandom

Her voice has an exquisite purity that commands without overwhelming. The facets of her life and music—liturgical poems and love songs—add to the aptness her name: Nehedar means “splendid” in Hebrew. Maureen Nehedar was two years old when her family left Isfahan, Iran, in the wake of the Islamic Revolution. They arrived in Israel with few tangible belongings but, as she describes it … More Maureen Nehedar: Gole Gandom

Young Iranian Female Voices: Songs in the Mist

The world music movement is a bridge, allowing artists who once might have been heard only in their own land to reach across borders and oceans. Sometimes distant ears also represent a lifeline for performers who can’t be heard in their own country at all. In Iran, women are prohibited from singing solo to mixed-gender audiences or having their voices broadcast. Providing a stage for eight supremely talented Iranian women to sing of love, hope, longing … More Young Iranian Female Voices: Songs in the Mist

Mamak Khadem: The Road

Mamak Khadem defies categorization. Born in Iran and rooted in Persian classical styles, she has also studied North Indian and Balkan traditions. Resettled in Los Angeles, she spent 10 years as lead singer for Axiom of Choice, a Persian-western fusion group. The Road, her second solo album, is less a blending than a radiant mosaic, exploring Iranian majority and minority cultures, Balkan folk and Andalusian classical music. Amid a diverse collection … More Mamak Khadem: The Road