Featured Spring 2012 Pre-Doctoral Research Grant

Masterful culture bearers?Iranian-Jews in the production of traditional Persian music: A case study in the U.S. (PI: Isra Yaghoubi) 

While diverse musical cultures have flourished throughout Iran - such as folk music, Sufi spiritual music, pop music, and more recently even Persian rap and heavy metal - "traditional Persian music is considered a hallmark and heritage of Persian culture," notes Isra Yaghoubi of the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies.

Minority religious groups in Iran and specifically Iranian Jews, many of whom are in exile since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, may have been historically the principle professional performers of Persian classical music within Persianate Islamic communities. This role extends into musical performance and teaching to the building of instruments.

The diaspora of Iran’s Jewish communities has grown concentrated in nations including the U.S., particularly in Los Angeles, where Yaghoubi plans to travel to inquire as to their current involvement in the production of traditional Persian music and the effects it has on their lives. In preparation for this fieldwork Yaghoubi interviewed and recorded UA Optical Science student Faraz Zein playing the Persian tar, which he teaches and performs here in Tucson.

Video: http://youtu.be/ydyWproUJMY

Yaghoubi’s fascinating project has been awarded an SBSRI Pre-Doctoral Research Grant for the Spring 2012 grant cycle. For more information on SBSRI’s Pre-Doctoral Research Grant, visit our grant webpage or email estahmer@email.arizona.edu.

Photo caption: A boy wearing traditional Jewish prayer attire, both with the tallit (prayer shawl), as well as the tefillin (phylacteries); in the background is a Persian rug, and Persian and Hebrew surround the photo.

Published Date: 

04/06/2012 - 17:01

Photo Credits: 

Photo by Isra Yaghoubi
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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