The 12th Iranian Regional Music Festival was held in the historic province of Kerman for four days. The festival began on 7th of November and ended on 19th. Passionate musicians from all over the country participated in this festival to play folk music, sing regional poems and read sonnets that may be as old as Iran’s history.
This music festival took place in the Ganj Ali Khan caravanserai Complex, a significant historical site that is very popular for having an authentic Iranian ambiance. It is undoubtedly one of the best choices for an event like this due to its Persian architecture and enough space for audience. Moreover, this complex was host to the 11th Iranian Regional Music Festival as well.
Each region of Iran has its own special musical instruments and singing methods. Also, the traditional outfits and folk dances of each part of Iran is unique to itself. Therefore, holding festivals like the Iranian Folk Music Festival seems to be a very great idea to introduce all the diversity and richness of Iran’s music to Iranians and non-Iranians.
Let’s take a look at what typically happens at an Iranian Regional Music Festival!
Unity in Diversity
Iran is a vast country made up of various cultures and traditions. Not to mention that each region of Iran has a different language spoken by its population. One of the beauties of Iran lays in the very unity and integrity of its people while all the diversity and difference is being respected and honored. This is the reason why Iran is seen as a colorful country, a place where no traveler will get bored!
As you travel Iran from north to south, you get astounded by the drastic change in climate, natural landscape and even culture. The calming green nature, the glorious mountains, the marvelous golden deserts and silvery seas all have come together to make Iran a four seasoned country with so many undiscovered beauties. And you’ll get amazed by seeing how culture differs as you visit each town.
Inevitably, as nature and climate change, the people find different tastes in music, arts, cuisines and even way of dressing.
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However, wearing traditional costumes has eventually faded away and people are more into wearing modernized clothes in Iran. But musicians who participate in cultural festivals and events like the Iranian Folk Music Festival, show up on the stage in their traditional costumes. So, the stage becomes a zone for displaying regional taste in music and way of dressing!
As you may guess, music has always been an important aspect of the lives of Iranians. Each type of regional music reflects the taste, spirit and outlook of its people towards life. Joining folk music festivals is a way to appreciate the diversity and celebrate the unity of Iranian regions at the same time!
A rich cultural heritage in music and poetry
Once you start travelling different cities of Iran, you realize that it’s a country rich in culture with splendid art and music in different forms. As can be expected, a land with thousand years of history has great diversity of forms in music and poetry. Gilaki music, Mazandarani music, Taleshi music, Khorasani music, Torkaman music, Azari music and Hormozgani music just to name a few. Most of these music forms are represented as a combination of instrumental and vocal music. Interestingly, the lyrics and poetry accompanying each music is different in each region of Iran. But one thing is common among all of these distinct music forms: They are all heart touching pieces of art.
The Tradition of playing Sorna and Dohol: Persian horn and barrel drum
Watching this performance is a precious experience since the playing of Persian horn and barrel drum has been part of Iranian celebrations throughout history. In fact, this is how Iranians used to begin their Nowruz celebration and even wedding parties. The sound of Persian horn with barrel drum works as a kind of announcement to gather people around for a celebration. So, let’s start celebrating the Iranian Folk Music by Sorna and Dohol!
Naghareh Navazi: The Tradition of Ceremonial Drum-Beating
Another interesting part of the Iranian Folk Music Festival is the tradition of Naghareh Navazi which is a type of ceremonial drum-beating. In the old times, before televisions and radios became an ordinary part of our everyday lives, Iranians came up with the idea of beating drums as a way to announce time of the day. The Naghare Zan would beat on his drums in some highly elevated spots of the city in order to announce the time of sunrise and sunset.
Also, playing Naghareh was an ancient way to encourage soldiers and lift their spirits during wars.
The dramatic Naghare Navazi excites the audience of the music festival and prepares them for listening to some authentic folk music of Iran.
Dastmal Bazi: Traditional Handkerchief Dance of Sirjan
Sitting in the magnificent square of Ganj Ali Khan Caravanserai next to other music and culture enthusiasts, you can enjoy watching the traditional handkerchief dance of Sirjan (a city in Kerman province). The performance is very cheerful and entertaining and depicts the liveliness of Iranian lifestyle. In the 12th Iranian Folk Music Festival, this dance was performed by a band called “the Dastmal Baz Group” and was one of the most interesting parts of the event.
Sword Dance of Khouzestan: Unity and Friendship
Dancing with swords is typically known as a traditional Arab dance. It is a very vivacious kind of dance that signifies unity and friendship. In the Iranian Folk Music Festival, an impressive sword dance was performed by a group of dancers called “Misan” who’d came to Kerman from Khouzestan province. In fact, in Iran, this kind of dance is specific to Khouzestan province. As said earlier, Iran is a country with so many diverse traditions, languages and dialects. Khouzetan, located in the southwest of the country, is home to Iranian Arabs who feature a rich culture that is a beautiful combination of Iranian and Arab heritage. The sword dance of Khouzestan is one of the most popular types of Iranian folk dance for sure!
Music of the North Khorasan: Suprisingly Various!
North of Khorasan is a vast region with various music styles due to the diversity of cultures existing there. Kormanji, Turkish, Turkmen and Persian music are the four general music styles which have been played throughout history by Khorasani musicians. Listening to the music of north Khorasan is a precious experience for anyone who appreciates folk music and its undeniable value.
Music of the East Azarbaijan: Tales of the Old Times
Faramarz Golzar and his band from the east Azarbaijan province were one of the professional music bands who participated in the 12th Iranian Folk Music Festival. The music of Azarbaijan which is characterized by folklore tales has always been one of the most admired music forms among Iranians and non-Iranians.
Music of Sistan and Balouchestan: Persian music with a Pakistani touch
Zahi Zang Shahi is a professional music band from Sistan and Balouchestan province of Iran. They participated in the 12th Iranian Folk Music Festival and played their mesmerizing musical instruments which brought a Pakistani ambiance to the stage. Their music, similar to the Sword dance of Khousetan, is an evidence of Iranian diversity in culture and music. The music and art of Sistan and Balouchestan has been vastly influenced by South Asian culture and has a very unique feel.
A journey through the land of One Thousand and One Nights
Joining the Iranian Folk Music Festival is like buying a ticket to several regions of Iran, visiting people of each province and listening to the stories of its many storytellers. From north to south, and west to east, each province, each town and each village has a different melody. So why not hear them? Why not join the Persian feast?