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Trends in Contemporary Conscious Music in Iran

Dr Malihe Maghazei

LSE Middle East Centre Paper Series / 03


This paper studies the growing trends in conscious music in Iran, which emerged in the 1990s. It provides a brief historical overview of changes in conscious music in Iran since the Constitutional Revolution of 1905. Within thecontext of the current status of music in the country, the research then focuses on three conscious trends: rock, fusion and classical Persian music. This music, which is part of a broader intellectual and artistic wave, represents the needs and views of a diverse young population as well as society as a whole. Based on interviews with musicians and on content analysis of lyrics, the paper highlights the dominant concerns and lyrical themes within each trend as well as the commonalities. The strategies, language and approach of these three trends are not uniform. However, they follow the same path: awakening; challenging old dogmas and clichés; and launching critical debate within a global context.

About the Author

Originally from Iran, Dr Malihe Maghazei joined the LSE Middle East Centre as a Visiting Fellow in October 2012. She is a social historian of the Middle East who specialises in the contemporary history of Iran. She has taught history courses including World Civilization since the 16th century at California State University, Fullerton and Women in the Middle East at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests include gender and Islam, youth, culture, and intellectual movements in Iran.

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