Nahid Siamdoust's new book is Soundtrack of the Revolution: The Politics of Music in Iran. From her Q&A with The Iranist:
THE IRANIST: Why would the Iranian government ban music after 1979 only to allow it later on?Visit Nahid Siamdoust's website.
NAHID SIAMDOUST: We really have to understand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s views on this, within the given circumstances of the time. In the summer following the revolution, Khomeini spoke to Radio Darya and called for the elimination of music altogether, saying it corrupted Iran’s youth. He was referring to the pop music that dominated state airwaves before the revolution. But not long before his speech, one of Khomeini’s dearest protégés, Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari, had passed away. Some people at state radio had made a song commemorating Motahhari and played it for Khomeini. The song was “Shahid-e Motahhar” (The Pure Martyr). Khomeini loved it so much that he requested to see its makers. In that meeting, Khomeini said, “I don’t cry much, but I cried when I heard your song. This is the most beautiful kind of music and if you continue making this kind of music, I will support you.” Until that point, rhythmical music was banned on state media. But after Khomeini’s statement, music started being produced again, not just marches or nohe-khuni (religious lamentation), but music with rhythmical passage—some even reminiscent of...[read on]