A preview of the Edinburgh Iranian Festival 2013

The festival brings together film, music, visual art, and comedy in the shape of Patrick Monahan

A preview of the Edinburgh Iranian Festival 2013

Patrick Monahan

When you mention Iran in the current climate, most people think of the politics of the country. But there is of course more to the place than what we see in the news – and the 2013 Edinburgh Iranian Festival is our opportunity to learn more about Iranian heritage. ‘I feel like one of the main ways to bring people together and help integration of non-British people into British society is to help them understand each other and each other’s cultures,’ says Sara Kheradmand, who has been coordinating the festival since 2009.

‘In the past, we’ve noticed that the films and lecture series have been really popular, while things like music can seem more alien so we’ve tried to address that in this year’s programme with the Grand Music Concert (Studio 24, Sat 9 Feb) with traditional music, rock bands and DJs.’

The event, presented by Irish-Iranian comedian Patrick Monahan, winner of ITV’s Show Me The Funny, will feature Kurdish and Persian music, while elsewhere in the festival there is the chance to see Persian opera (St John’s Church, Fri 1 Feb) and Iranian jazz (Art’s Complex, St Margaret’s House, Wed 6 Feb). Other highlights of the programme include a celebration of Iranian cinema at the Filmhouse (Thu 7–Sun 17 Feb), in collaboration with Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace. Art from Iran is a day of special events at the National Museum of Scotland (Sun 3 Feb), including a traditional music workshop, an Azadi dance performance piece in the main gallery and a Persian calligraphy workshop, while the festival’s other main art exhibition, Borders (Wed 6–Sat 16 Feb, Art’s Complex, St Margaret’s House) features artists from Iran, Europe, America and South Korea contributing video installations, sculpture, photography and illustration.

Various venues, Edinburgh, Fri 1–Sat 16 Feb.

Edinburgh Iranian Festival: Film Season

Edinburgh Iranian Festival present their first ever mid-season, with a stand-alone Iranian film season at the Filmhouse Cinema. The film season includes five feature films, four of which are UK premieres with one Scottish premier. Films include A Very Ordinary Citizen, Today, A Minor Leap Down, For a Rainy Day and Atomic…

Iranian Festival: Grand Concert

A mix of live music (from Parvaz, Baran and Radio Tehran), stand-up from Irish/Iranian comedian Patrick Monohan and Persian dance tunes from DJ Barfi.

Art from Iran

Iranian metalwork and ceramics from the 13th to the 19th centuries.

Jila Peacock: Persian Calligraphy Workshop

Painter and printmaker Dr Jila Peacock gives a workshop on Persian calligraphy, giving you a chance to make your own calligraphic art.

Edinburgh Iranian Festival Opening Ceremony

The 2013 Edinburgh Iranian Festival kicks off with a lecture by Prof Ali Ansari on 'Shahnameh and Modern Iran', looking at how Ferdowsi's great 11th century epic has formed the backdrop to modern Iranian history, and Persian music from HamisheNou, a vocal/piano/flute trio performing a mixture of Persian opera melodies and…


Live dance/music installation by Roxana Vilk, fusing contemporary dance and traditional Iranian music.

Music Workshops: Tonbak, Saf & Dantour

If you've always been curious about the feel of a tonbak on your knee, if you have a long-term desire to slap a daf, or if hammering a santur is something you've been wanting to try for years, then this introductory workshop to these three iconic Iranian musical instruments is for you. Led by Dunya Ensemble members Sahba…


Work in different media by 28 Scottish and international artists on the theme of borders.

Borders Exhibition Opening Night: GOL

Edinburgh-based band playing a mixture of Persian music, trance, jazz and electronica.

Borders Exhibition Closing Night

Closing night show featuring live dance/music performance by Monica de Ioanni and Liam Baker, Sprouting Wings.

Grand Music Concert

The Edinburgh Iranian Festival climaxes with this grand concert, presented by everyone's favourite Irish-Iranian comedian Patrick Monahan (granted, it's a small field, but he's still very funny). The lineup includes Kurdish music from Parvaz Ensemble, Iranian-Indian-Spanish fusion from Baran, authentic Iranian indie rock…


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