Persian folk 45 rpm vinyl records

by: Amir Mansour


Persian folk music is a great treasury of historical songs of an ancient civilization, containing wide tastes of music based on improvisation and monophony. Some of folk songs have been inserted and developed through centuries in Iranian traditional music structure which is called "Radif" but most of the existed folk songs in Khorasan, Lorestan, Kurdistan, Persian Gulf coasts, Gilan, Fars and Azarbaijan are free from "Radif" frameworks very near to post modernism in music. For example, I sometimes think about "Rezagholi Noorabadi" who I have not ever found enough data or a photo of him and just his 45 rpm vinyl records show his psychedelic music and his unique style in performance and playing his ancient instrument, "KARNA" which has similarities to trumpet. I think his songs and many folk musicians of villages or small towns are not less important than famous folk or jazz stars and we must do our best to make them to be known for all of the music lovers.


Persian folk 78s

Although there are not a long list of folk records in Persian shellac 78 rpm records but a number of Gilaki, Kurdi, Azari, Armenian, Caucasian, Shirazi and Assyrian records have been recorded in Iran during the 78 rpm era. Most of folk 78 rpms have recorded in 1947 for HMV, Columbia and Odeon labels in their last series of Persian recordings in Tehran.


Persian folk 45 rpm vinyl records

As was mentioned before, the Persian 45 rpm vinyl records are a great courtesy of different styles of Persian and other Middle Eastern recordings in 1960's and up to mid 1970's. A valuable part of these records are Persian Folk music of all areas and provinces in Iran as unique documents to introduce great but unknown faces. I use this opportunity to point to The Late Haji Ghorban and ask why he is known and famous in Iran and abroad and how it happened. Yes, just participating in an international music festival in France or somewhere else, may make a maestro of folk music of Khorasan enough famous, but it never means the great ocean of Iranian culture and its treasure of folk music has limited in very few known faces. Folk music in Lorestan (land of Kamancheh), Fars (land of ney and Karna), Kurdistan, Gilan, Mazandaran, West & East Azerbaijan, Khorasan, Sistan, Balouchestan, Northern coast of Persian Gulf, Khouzestan and other provinces has many important faces just we can know them by listening to their few recorded works on 45 rpm vinyl records.

According to discography methodology, the Folk Persian records could be separated by areas and then, labels. There are many important folk records on local limited edition labels, produced by main factories in Iran. Between these records, you can find some labels belong to shops from small towns with population about 5000 or even less than it. So, many of them are valuable records, musically and for collectors.


Azeri folk records

In Azeri 45s, beside Classical Dastgah (Muqam) records, there are many Ashighi folk songs, produced by "Nava" factory in Tabriz on the same label or producing for other local labels of the neighbor provinces like Western Azerbaijan, Kurdistan and Zanjan. (for more details: Recording industry in “Tabriz” ) Also there are some Azeri folk songs produced in Tehran for famous labels like Royal, Iran Gram, Mono Gram and Musical records. It is very difficult to have an estimate of the titles of Azeri folk 45 rpm vinyl records and just may say more than 200 Azeri folk songs must be recorded and manufactured as very limited edition records between more than 1000 titles of Azeri EPs, produced in Tabriz and Tehran. These records are not easily in reach but are able to introduce a valuable list of Azeri folk musician of 1960's like Ashigh Boloot Javadi, Ashigh Abdolali Noori, Ashigh Eshghali Nizami and others.


Qashqai records

There are about 100 folk song of Qashqai music from Fars province on local labels like Musical Record (Shiraz) and Dariush (Shiraz) beside labels like Royal. Instrumental recordings like Karna, Sorna (Zourna) and Naqareh have limited edition vinyl 45s from different areas in Fars province and around it. Great faces like Hadi khan Nakissa, Rezagholi Noroozabadi, Gholam Ranjbar, Gorginpour brothers (Faraz & Foroud) and others have a free and in fact post modern style in their performances and vocalists like Mrs. Zinat Qashqai, Tahmoures Qashqai, Khosravi and other singers have unique records in 1960s. A number of them were the winners and the first places in Iranian Folk festivals in last twenty years and some of their great faces have passed away but their records are a valuable courtesy of folk music and a connection point to Lori, Laki, Kurdish and folk music in Khoozestan. The almost complete discography of Qahqai records are an important step to introduce these gems which most of them are pure and premetive works, more important than many famous jazz songs of famous stars. you can hear some Qashqai songs through this page.


Folk songs of the Persian Gulf Coasts

The roots of music of all coasts of Persian Gulf -Northern and Southern coasts- and their common tempo are rare melodies from Bandar Abbas and Boushehr to South Khouzestan. The songs are affected by working on the sea, in ships and during the fishing. Neyanboun (a local bagpipe) and Oud (The Lut) are the main instruments for playing the melodies which make the folk music around the Persian Gulf now and the same melodies in South Iran, South Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and to Oman. Recordings from 1960's on Iran produced vinyl 45s show this relationship and there are links in this page to listen to such folk songs.


In other pages we have talked about Kurdish, Assyrian and Armenian records and there are more folk records from Khorasan, Lorestan, Gilan, ...... Turkmen and Arabic songs which need more time to introduce and will discuss them in near future.


Listen to some Persian Folk songs from 45 rpm vinyl records

1- Qashqai instrumental music; Karna by Rezagholi Noorabadi

2- Qashqai song; Zinat (vocal) + Nakissa (setar)

3- Azeri song: Vartoush

4- Azeri dance instrumental song (reng)

5- Lori song; Saffari (vocal) + Ali khan Shafayy (Kamancheh)

6- Lori song: Rashidi (vocal) + Hossein Salem (Kamancheh)

7- Turkmen song 1

8- Turkmen song 2 (2 tracks)

9- Song from Persian Gulf coast: vocal + bagpipe

10- Song from Persian Gulf coast: vocal + oud

11- Kurdish song: vocal + Sorna

12- Kurdish song: vocal + oud

13- Song from Khorasan; vocal + dotar by Sattarzadeh 1    

14- Song from Khorasan; vocal + dotar by Sattarzadeh 2