It seems hard for most westerners to imagine today, but in the middle part of last century, the Iranian government was very supportive of the western way of life. In addition to pushing for women’s right to vote, the Shah and his organization encouraged art, music, and film in Iranian society. The Ministry of Culture founded Ahang Rooz, a record label featuring the biggest acts in the country. Over time, they launched additional imprints such as Caspian, Royal, Apollon, and Olympic.
The music that came out of this renaissance (’53-’79) was an incredible mix of rock, jazz, soul, funk, and indigenous music. The influence of American and British music was extremely present. In fact, some artists even covered songs (in English) by the Beatles, John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, and more. Successful Iranian musicians were treated like America treats Hollywood A-listers.
In 1979 religious leaders throughout Iran grew angry with what they perceived to be the Shah’s attempt to wipe out Islam from their country. This sparked the Iranian revolution that put the anti-western Ayatollah Kohmeini in power. Once in power, Kohmeini eliminated the Iranian record business. He saw it as being riddled with western influence and a threat to his regime’s power. They burned most of the country’s recording studios and rid the country of its popular musicians. Most were exiled from Iran while others were put on house arrest.
Finally, 40 years later, some of the long lost popular music of Iran is beginning to resurface. Secret Stash Records is extremely proud to announce this release that focuses exclusively on Funk and Soul tunes recorded in Iran during the 70s. These tracks have been hand selected after hundreds of hours of digging and searching through almost forgotten archives. They are a mix of instrumental, Farsi vocal, and English cover songs. This record is packed full of deep grooves, killer breaks, and high energy, all with a healthy dose of Persian influence. Each LP comes with a free digital download of the entire album and is packaged in a re-sealable dust bag.