Azam Ali

Born in Tehran, Iran 1970, Ali spent most of her childhood in Panchgani, India.[1] Ali and her mother moved to Los Angeles, California in 1985, after which Ali discovered the santour. Ali then studied the santour under Persian master Manoocher Sadeghi, which led to the rediscovery of her voice.[2] She is now living in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

In 1996, Ali formed “alternative world” group VAS with percussionist Greg Ellis after meeting the year prior at a concert at UCLA.[3] She and her husband, Loga Ramin Torkian, are also part of another group, Niyaz, an Iranian acoustic electronic group. In 2005, Azam Ali was featured in Enter The Chicken, a Buckethead album, singing the song Coma along side Serj Tankian.

In 2002, Ali released her first solo album, Portals of Grace.This was followed up with 2006′s Elysium for the Brave, which reached #10 on Billboards World Albums chart on 23 September 2006.Ali’s most recent release, 2011′s From Night to the Edge of Day, is a collection of lullabies inspired by her son.

Maryam Akhondy

Maryam Akhondy (born 1957) is a classical trained singer from Tehran, Iran. She was student of Ostad Esmail Mehrtasch and Ostad Nassrollah Nassehpour, two masters of classical Iranian music. Because of the difficult situation for artists, especially female artists, in Iran after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, she moved to Europe and, since 1986, has lives in Cologne, Germany.

After 1986, Maryam Akhondy started working with other Iranian musicians in exile. With Nawa and Tschakawak, two groups of traditional Iranian musicians, she performed in Germany and Scandinavia.

At the same time she founded Ensemble Barbad, a group with three to five musicians, all classical trained artists. Barbad has been touring all over Europe for the past years. Maryam Akhondy and Ensemble Barbad’s newest project is called Sarmast, which means intoxicated, in this case intoxicated by the lyrics of the great Iranian poets, such as Hafez and others. Sarmast is Akhondy’s own compositions in the style of classical Persian art and music. The CD Sarmast – Iranian art music for texts of Persian poets was published in 2006.

Between 1999 and 2000, Maryam Akhondy created an all-female acapella group, Banu, because in Iran, it is difficult for female singers to appear publicly. Only for religious rituals, called Tazieh, are they allowed to make music. Furthermore, for men it is forbidden to listen to the singing of women. Therefore, for Iranian women, singing is possible only in private sphere, where women are alone or among themselves: at the cradle, doing housework, working in the fields, and women’s celebrations. Maryam Akhondy made it her business to bring traditional women’s songs back to life again. Over years she has been collecting songs and published them in 2004 on her album Banu – Songs of Persian Women.

Banu, named after the Persian word for noble lady or distinguished lady, is a kind of musical expedition to the different regions and cultures of Iran. It gives an informative view of the singing culture and self-confidence of the Persian women. Most of these songs are full of life and energy, accompanied by various percussion instruments. This is quite unusual for Iranian music which is often more serene and melancholic. But these old folk songs are funny, ironic and give a view of the Iranian woman when she is in private. The women of Banu have been touring in Europe, Turkey and Tunisia until recently.

They have also done non-Iranian collaborations with the Schäl Sick Brass Band of Cologne between 1994 and 1999, with Mike Herting during the Ruhrtriennale in 2008, and with Bobby McFerrin in 2009.

Shanbehzadeh Ensemble

Shanbehzadeh Ensemble (Persian: گروه شنبه زاده‎) is an Iranian folk band, formed in Bushehr in 1990. The band offers a rare aspect of the traditional music and dance of the Persian Gulf, more specially of the province of Bushehr, south of Iran and bordering Persian gulf.

The principal instruments of the ensemble are the neyanbān (bagpipe), neydjofti (flute), dammām (drum), zarbetempo (percussion), traditional flute, senj (cymbal) and boogh (a goat’s horn). The Ensemble has delighted audience in Iran, Europe and North-America.

The band was founded by internationally acclaimed Iranian musician and dancer, Saeid Shanbezadeh in 1990. Saied, who traces his ancestry to Zanzibar in East Africa,[3][4] was born in Bushehr, Iran, where he started playing music at the age of 7 with the old masters of the music of the region. He began with percussions, singing, and traditional dance. At 20 he founded the group of Shanbehzadeh Ensemble and won the 1st prize at the Fajr Music Festival in Tehran in 1990. In 1996 he was invited by the University of Toronto to teach a half-a-year course. In 2007 he was invited again by La Cité de La Musique of Paris to teach dance, singing and music. In 1998 he was named the professor and director of the House of Culture, Music and Dance of the Isle of Kish in Iran. That same year he portrayed himself in Talking with the Wind by Bahram Beyzaei.

Saeid Shanbehzadeh left Iran in 2002 and now lives in Paris.

Dariush Eghbali

Dariush Eghbali (Persian: داریوش اقبالی ‎, Dāryūš Eqbālī) better known by his stage name Dariush is a famous Iranian pop singer best known for his warm and plaintive bass voice heard in both ballads and political songs.[1] He is also a social activist who directs a recovery center.

Dariush was born in Tehran , on February 4, 1951 and spent his early years in Karaj. His talent was first recognized at an early age of nine, when he appeared on stage at his school. Hassan Khayatbashi introduced him to the public at the age of twenty through Iranian television. He immediately became popular with his legendary song “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”.[3] His contemporary and unique style opened up a new era in Iranian music. His past drug use has been publicized heavily. He has since quit.

His body of work consists of over 208 songs in 27 albums. He has also performed many Iranian films.

Dariush has released album called Donyaye In Roozaye Man which has been released on June 1, 2010 and recently the new song ‘Divar’ on August 9, 2011.

Dariush is a member of Amnesty International. Having had the experience of drug abuse himself in the past,[4] he is heavily involved in bringing awareness and support to the world of addiction.[4] Through the establishment of the Iran Recovery Center and Ayeneh Foundation, as well as through websites, educational seminars and conferences around the world, he has used his celebrity status to promote a drug free lifestyle.

His contributions have been recognized by the Self-Help And Recovery Exchange, which selected him to receive the Ron Simmons & Rev, Ronald L. Wright Award, for his outstanding contribution to support group participation by minority communities.

Hichkas

Soroush Lashkari (Persian: سروش لشکری‎; born May 10, 1985) better known by his stage name Hichkas (Persian: هیچکس‎; meaning “Nobody”)is an Iranian rapper based in Tehran. Hichkas is considered[by whom?] as one of pioneers of “Persian Rap” and “Persian Urban music“.  He has never received official permission to release his music legally in Iran since most western-style music is banned in the country.

Hichkas is one of the first Iranian Rappers that his works has made success.In about 2003, he started his works in Vanak with covering some English Language songs.Hichkas gained attention when he began rapping in Persian about social problems and young generation in Iran.Releasing his first album, made his name much reputable in Iranian community.  Hichkas has a unique theistic and nationalisitic lyrics style, avoiding vulgar words, referring to social issues

About Elly

About Elly (Persian: درباره الی‎, translit. Darbareye Elly) is a 2009 Iranian film directed by Asghar Farhadi. It is the fourth film by Farhadi. The film is about the relationship among some middle class families in Iran.

Farhadi won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 59th Berlin Film Festival for the film. The film was also nominated for 10 awards at the 27th Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran where Farhadi won the Crystal Symorgh for best directing. About Elly was Iran’s official submission for the competition in Foreign Film section at the 82nd Academy Awards. It competed against films such as Bist, Tardid, Bipooli for Iran’s submission in the Academy Awards.

A group of middle-class Iranian friends travel to the shores of the Caspian Sea on a three-day vacation. They are former classmates at the Law faculty in the university. Three couples include Sepideh and her husband Amir who have a little daughter. Shohreh and her husband Peiman who have two children including their little son Arash. Nazi and her husband Manoochehr are the third family. The trip is planned by Sepideh, who brought along her daughter’s kindergarten teacher Elly in order to introduce her to Ahmad, a friend who has come back from Germany for marriage.

They all go to the villa that Sepideh has booked from Tehran, but the rural woman in charge tells them that the owners of the place are coming back tomorrow, so they can’t stay there. The old woman suggests that they stay in a deserted villa that needs a lot of repairs. There is no cellphone reception there and they have to go to the old woman’s house in order to make calls. Sepideh lies to the old woman about the relationship between Elly and Ahmad: she says they’re married and are there for their honey moon.

Elly is a little shy, but she begins to feel attracted to Ahmad, who seems to feel the same way. She calls her mother and lies to her saying that she’s with her co-workers at the sea-side. She wishes to go back to Tehran the following day, as planned. Sepideh does not want her to leave and hides her luggage. In a twist of events, Elly goes missing after one of the mothers asks her to watch the children playing in the water. The group does not know whether Elly drowned or left for Tehran on her own.

Crew

The Song of Sparrows

The Song of Sparrows (Avaze gonjeshk-ha) (Persian: آواز گنجشک‌ها ‎) is a 2008 Iranian movie directed by Majid Majidi. It tells the story of Karim, a man who works at an ostrich farm until he is fired because one of the ostriches fled. He finds a new job in Tehran, but he faces new problems in his personal life.  This film opened to critical acclaim.

Karim works at an ostrich farm outside of Tehran, Iran. He leads a simple and contented life with his family in his small house, until one day when one of the ostriches runs away. Karim is blamed for the loss and is fired from the farm. Soon after, he travels to the city in order to repair his elder daughter’s hearing aid but finds himself mistaken for a motorcycle taxi driver. Thus begins his new profession: ferrying people and goods through heavy traffic. However, the people and goods he is dealing with every day start to change Karim’s generous and honest nature, much to the distress of his wife and daughters. It is up to those closest to him to restore the values that he once cherished.

Directed by Majid Majidi
Produced by Majid Majidi
Written by Majid Majidi Mehran Kashani
Starring Reza Naji
Music by Hossein Alizadeh
Release date(s) February 2008
Country Iran