Endangered archives blog

25 September 2009

Flowers of Persian song and poetry

I would like to draw attention to some of the non-textual material copied by EAP projects. We've received several collections of music, video and oral history material, images of artefacts and, not surprisingly, many copies of photographs.

Our music collections are vaired and exciting. They include music from Iran, Africa, India and Micronesia. We recently received material from a project to collect and digitise old music in pre-literate Micronesian society. This is very different to the classical music and gramophone records from India or the indigenous recordings from the Syliphone Studio in Africa, also being copied.

Here I would like to mention the approx. 847 hours of programmes featuring Persian music that were copied as part of the project The Golha radio programmes (Flowers of Persian Song and Poetry). The programmes include music, literary commentary and poetry. They were "exemplars of excellence in the sphere of music and refined examples of literary expression, making use of a repertoire of over 250 classical and modern Persian poets, setting literary and musical standards that are still looked up to with admiration in Iran today". More information on the programmes and current research activity can be found on the Golha website, which will be added to to include details of the music, transcripts of the poetry and information on the people involved.

The importance of these programmes is immense. Broadcast between 1956 and 1979, they featured renowned critics, broadcasters, composers and performers. They helped redefine attitudes towards music and musicians within Iran. In addition, the music itself, in my opinion, is wonderful.

The programmes can be accessed via the British Library Reading Rooms (please email the Endangered Archives Programme Curator beforehand). Or you can buy CDs from the SOAS bookshop.

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