Persian Music: A Refreshing Change from the Mainstream

Growing up Galstyan meant constantly arguing with my mother about the kind of music she could play in the car when dropping me off at school. She wanted to play Persian music while I wanted to blast anything I recorded from KIIS or POWER 106 on those old contraptions called cassette tapes we use as door stoppers nowadays.
Lately though, the mainstream just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’ve turned to underground music, so underground that it’s music from the other side of the world. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the same music I used to yell at my mother about, Persian music. If you, dear reader, are bored with the same seven songs that KIIS repeats every hour, or if you just want to titillate and tantalize your ear drums, read on.
For those who are not yet ready to dive completely into the exotic beats and rhythms of Persian music, Andy Madadian, also known as Andy, offers a sound that combines traditional Middle Eastern sounds with the bass, guitar and drums of the West.
Andy began his music career as a partner in the duo Andy and Kouros. The duo quickly gained fame, but Andy proved to be more popular and launched a career of his own.
In 1994, Andy was named Persian Male Pop Singer of the Decade in a gala ceremony at Universal Studios. He has since recorded songs in Armenian, Arabic, English, Spanish and Urdu.
He was also cast as himself in the movie ‘The House of Sand and Fog,’ and performed the song ‘Shokoufeh’ in a wedding scene.
Although Andy’s voice isn’t as powerful as the voices of some of his colleagues, his songs are upbeat and fun to dance to. ‘Areh Areh’ from his ‘Platinum’ album and ‘Che Khoshgel Shodi’ from his album ‘Khalvate Man’ are especially recommended.
Moein, another male Persian singer, is different than Andy in the sense that his music is more authentic and does not incorporate Western elements.
Moein began his career by performing at Shah Abbas hotel. In 1982 after writing his most famous song, ‘Yeki Ra Doost Midaram,’ Moein left Iran and the Shah Abbas hotel, and came to the United States to escape the revolution in Iran. He has produced 19 albums thus far, which contain tracks perfect for either dancing or studying to.
Moein’s melodies seem to transport the listener to a completely different world. Two highly recommended songs are ‘Be didaram bia’ and ‘Baraaye Didaneh Toh.’
Another traditional artist, and my own personal favorite will always and forever be Hayedeh. Hayedeh began singing for a radio station, but her siren-like voice quickly made her into one of the most beloved Persian singers.
Although Hayedeh died of a heart attack in 1990 after a concert, she continues to be one of the most celebrated Persian singers due to the sheer magnificence of her voice. I recommend any Hayedeh song, but I especially recommend ‘Shabeh Eshgh’ or ‘Deleh Divouneh,’ which showcase her amazing ability to imitate heaven in the form of soundwaves.
Although I left out many other talented artists such as Googoosh and Dariush (whose fans will attack me with pitchforks if I do not mention them), Mehrdad, Mahasti (Hayedeh’s sister), Gloria Rohani, Leila Forouhar, Nooshafarin, and Omid, I advise the reader to order some Caspian to go. Visit or, and sample a song from at least one of the artists mentioned. By the way, don’t worry about not understanding the words, I don’t either. The music speaks for itself.