Various - Let No One Judge You: Early Recordings From Iran, 1906-1933
- Stewart Smith
- 16 January 2014
Stunning collection of Iranian music from the first third of the 20th century
Continuing their trawl through the Gramophone Company's Middle Eastern archives, Honest Jon's presents a stunning collection of Iranian music from the first third of the 20th century. Beginning with a 1906 recording of the Royal Orchestra, where western instruments play Persian scales, this two-disc set is a heady journey into old Tehran. There are some incredible instrumental improvisations here, but most remarkable are the female voices. These recordings were made at a time when Iranian women were for the first time accepted as musicians, without the connotations of prostitution which had stigmatised them before. From the 1906 recordings we have the gutsy elastic alto of Reza-Qoli, and from 1925, remarkable settings of the poet Raheb by Moluk Zarrabi, accompanied on tar by the Iranian Jewish musician Morteza Ney-Davud. Parveneh sings mournful love songs, accompanying herself on the setar, a scratchy three-stringed lute which is the Iranian ancestor of the sitar.