Music, one of the strongest forms of artistic expression, has been throughout history the target of every oppressive religious or political regime. I have been planing to write some words about the Iranian musician Kourosh Yaghmaei since long time and the recent world news acted as an unfortunate reminder...
My first contact with his music, was via the amazing Rangarang anthology which is compiling gems of the pre-1979 Iranian music scene. The beautiful content of the compilation, which took its name from the popular Iranian TV music show of the 70s, comes as no surprise considering the vast history and tradition of the Persian nation.
Yaghmaei himself, is regarded as one of the greatest Persian psychedelic rock musicians in the history of Iranian rock music, being named as "the Godfather of Iranian psychedelic rock" or as "the king of rock" amongst others. In my opinion, these characterisations are too much "hyped" and maybe are distracting the listener from the real essence of Yahgmaei's music (as they narrow it down to a specific target group and audience). What I mean, is that gems like Gole Yakh need no genre classification in order to be appreciated.
Kourosh had managed to release 3 albums before the Islamic revolution in Iran takes over and bans any western influenced music. Yaghmaei's music was no exception to that. Staying however faithful to his roots, he refused to flee his homeland and remained in Iran being active until now, releasing children books and music which is less "electric" or western influenced. Back From The Brink is a double album compilation which can act as a proper introduction to an artist and a scene that vanished. Nobody can be sure how Iranian "rock" would have developed had it been allowed to flourish. We can nevertheless just imagine listening to the great music of Yaghmaei.
*The Blog post title is taken from the same-named song by Kourosh Yaghmaei