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Iran - Axis of Evil

Andy and his production team were granted unprecedented freedom to travel the length of Iran without minders or official translators. A surprisingly truthful account of musical life in Iran.

Andy and his production team were granted unprecedented freedom to travel the length of Iran without minders or official translators. The result is a surprisingly truthful account of musical life in Iran.

Andy uncovers the underground music scene and describes the programme as "putting the fun into fundamentalism". He discovers underground heavy metal, rock, and attends an illegal rave in North Tehran. He records music all over the country including the self-mutilating Sufis of Kurdistan, a classical band in Esfahan, and African-influenced rap in the searing heat of the Persian Gulf .

He gets to grip with the appalling traffic in Tehran and has a go at crossing the road. He meets an urban planner who's just released Iran's first legal rap cassette, and, in a bored moment, discovers that the real reason for Persian music is to "stop old people being grumpy."

Andy also discovers a country full of young people desperate to perform and listen to music of whatever style, whenever and wherever they like. This programme is a unique mixture of professionally made, and extremely rare music recordings, as well as frank discussion with Iranians eager for change.

Available now

1 hour, 45 minutes

Last on

Sun 12 Jun 2005 22:15

Music and featured items

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  • Andy Kershaw in Tehran

    Andy Kershaw visits the island of Hormuz before travelling to Tehran.

    Duration: 06:29

  • Music Played

    • Mr Ahmadi, Mr Kamal, Mr Mohammed, Mr Mostafa

      Shoor

      Composer: Trad

      • BBC Recording.
    • Hasan Payghan

      Drop by Drop

    • Hasan Payghan

      The Las Moment

  • Beethoven’s Music Shop

    In a music shop, Andy learns about the strict censorship rules governing pop music.

    Duration: 05:40

  • Music Played

  • Andy goes in search of Ohum.

    Andy goes in search of one of the best bands in Tehran – Ohum.

    Duration: 09:07

  • Music Played

    • Ohum

      no title

      • White label.
    • Ohum

      no title

      • White label.
    • Ohum

      no title

      • White label.
  • Islamic Revolution of Iran.

    Andy explains the historical background to the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

    Duration: 04:50

  • Music Played

    • Mr Ahmadi, Mr Kamal, Mr Mohammed, Mr Mostafa

      Dashti

      Composer: Trad

      • BBC Recording.
  • The secret police.

    Andy has been told that he’s being followed by the secret police.

    Duration: 03:34

  • Iran’s first professional rapper.

    Andy meets Iran’s first professional rapper – Shakar.

    Duration: 06:35

  • Music Played

  • Shakar B

    Khannande

  • Imam Khomeini mosque

    Andy visits the Imam Khomeini mosque in Esfahan.

    Duration: 09:20

  • Music Played

    • Mr Ahmadi, Mr Kamal, Mr Mohammed, Mr Mostafa

      Bayate Esfahan

      • BBC Recording.
  • Andy has a haircut.

    Andy has a haircut in Esfahan and discusses the previous night’s music with his guide.

    Duration: 05:52

  • Music Played

    • Adel Kamaly & Fareidoon Kamaly

      Sartarz

      Composer: Trad

      • BBC Recording.
  • The Kurdish area of Iran.

    Andy is in the Kurdish area of Iran with a musician from the Kurdish community.

    Duration: 08:21

  • Music Played

    • Grooh-e-Erfan-e-Ghaderi-ye-Kurdistan

      Rafighan-e-Taright

    • Grooh-e-Erfan-e-Ghaderi-ye-Kurdistan

      Allah-o-Labeik

  • Kurdistan Province

    Andy Kershaw is in Kurdistan Province where Sufi dervishes gather during the week.

    Duration: 08:04

  • Music Played

    • Grooh-e-Erfan-e-Ghaderi-ye-Kurdistan

      Allah-o-Labeik

      • BBC Recording.
    • Jahlé

      Gol e Bostan

      • BBC Recording.
  • The straits of Hormuz

    Andy arrives at a small village on the straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.

    Duration: 11:38

  • Underground Heavy Metal

    Andy meets an underground Heavy Metal group who play in the attic of a house.

    Duration: 08:00

  • Music Played

    • Jahlé

      Sharji o garma (hot and humid)

      • BBC Recording.
  • Iranians having having fun.

    Andy reflects on what Iranians do to have fun.

    Duration: 06:20

  • Music Played

    • Maj Noon

      Mine

    • Penhan Cho Del

      Sham

      • BBC Recording.
  • Andy visits a secret party.

    Andy visits a secret party - despite the clerics banning these.

    Duration: 11:02

  • Music Played

    • Lullaby

      Jahle

      • BBC Recording.

Broadcasts