I’m riding the tram, it’s freezing cold outside and the heating system is turned on at...
”When you stay with me, the wind carries away my loneliness. My two eyes have made it rain every night. Spring fluttered out of my hands and left. In my heart, an ice flower has sprouted. In my room, I’m starting to burn from loneliness. Yet, in these times, there’s a blossom. What should I sing: my youth is gone and so is my voice…In my heart, an ice flower has sprouted.”
These lovely lyrics are part of the translation of the song ”Gol E Yakh” (Ice Flower), one of the most known Iranian pop ballads, originally released in 1974, sung by Iranian rock musician and hero Kourosh Yaghmaei.
When I first discovered this song it was winter outside. I remember how I was obsessively listening to it on repeat, while I was on my way to a mind-numbing day job at an office. I was listening to it again and again, from 5 to ten times in a row, for a few good weeks. I first heard it on the excellent compilation Pomegranates on Finders Keepers, a great collection of various Persian psychedelic rock and traditional pop music from the ‘70s. Later on, thanks to the subsidiary of Stones Throw Records (which is the precious Now-Again Records), I could enjoy an extensive collection of more than 20 songs from the 1973-1979 tough years of Iran.
The story of Kourosh Yaghmaei is at least remarkable: he started with music very early, when he was ten years old, learning to play the Santour (an Iranian traditional music instrument) he got from his father. After 5 years of practice he gained precious knowledge of Iranian traditional music along with excellent skills in playing Santour. Later on he learnt to play guitar, an instrument that will remain his favorite. The Iranian Revolution from 1979 leaded by Ayatollah Khomeini empowered a very strict regime of censorship; all pop music was virtually eradicated from Iran. Recorded in a pre-revolution Iran in the 1970s, Kourosh had to hide his music once Islamic fundamentalists grabbed control and started burning down record companies and harassing musicians. Kourosh got his voice banned for 17 years. In these years he published children stories on books and cassettes. His picture was allowed to be published on his albums after 24 years.
This collection of ”pre-revolution psychedelic rock” songs has such a big value not only because it is so rare, hidden and almost impossible to be discovered without the intervention of Now-Again, but it is also a testimony of a political context now forgotten and erased from the history of this unfortunate and persecuted country that is Iran.
Amazing, sublime, yet simply beautiful discovery!
Tracklist:1. Gole Yakh
2. Dar Enteha
3. Hajme Khali
6. Del Dareh Pir Misheh
7. Akhm Nakon
8. Shirin Joon
10. Tavalode Yek Seda
11. Mosafere Shahre Baran
15. Saraabe Toe
19. Havar Havar
21. Bachehaye Khoobe Koocheh