Persian Music



May 15, 2022


“Jan, you are a hunter!”

So spoke Majdi, my guide in Iran.

Hadji observes that Jan “hunts” for an opportunity to take a special landscape photograph.   He is impressed as I comfortably engage with strangers and then easily pose with them. 

I am never conscious of being a hunter.

Am I enterprising or patient or lucky?

On a lakeside in the mountains, it is just my luck that someone left the radio playing in his parked car.

On a holiday evening in Isfahan, I am determined to find the source of singing that is emanating from under the arches of the Allahverdi Khan Bridge.

At lunch in Shiraz, I chat with a group of young women sitting at the next table.  Does the least shy girl in the group have a trained voice?  She demurs when I ask her.  Undeterred, a few minutes later I ask again.   She agrees with me.   From their seats in the middle of the restaurant, she and her friend break into song.

Music is everywhere in Iran.

In the parks, young men sing and strum.

In restaurants, an ensemble plays traditional music on traditional instruments.  

From the minarets of mosques, the melodious and insistent call to prayer soars above the neighborhood.

Melodious or joyful, scheduled or spontaneous, traditinal music is a hallmark of Persian society.

You don’t have to be a hunter to find it.

Just engaged.   And lucky.


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