Underground music flourishes in Iran

Published July 9, 2013
Iranian guitarist Hamed Babaei practices for his band called "Accolade" in a basement of a house in Tehran, Iran.
Iranian guitarist Hamed Babaei practices for his band called "Accolade" in a basement of a house in Tehran, Iran.
Iranian musicians Pedram, left, and Soheil, members of a band called "Rebeat," compose remixes of folk songs on their electronic mixing console in Tehran, Iran.
Iranian musicians Pedram, left, and Soheil, members of a band called "Rebeat," compose remixes of folk songs on their electronic mixing console in Tehran, Iran.
Iranian musician Danial Izadi performs with his harmonica in an unauthorized stage performance for his band called "Accolade" in Tehran, Iran.
Iranian musician Danial Izadi performs with his harmonica in an unauthorized stage performance for his band called "Accolade" in Tehran, Iran.
Nastaran Ghaffari, from left, Kamyar Shahdoust, Farbod Shirmohammad, Danial Izadi and Hamed Babaei, members of an Iranian band called "Accolade," practice at the house of one of the members in Tehran, Iran.
Nastaran Ghaffari, from left, Kamyar Shahdoust, Farbod Shirmohammad, Danial Izadi and Hamed Babaei, members of an Iranian band called "Accolade," practice at the house of one of the members in Tehran, Iran.
Iranian musician Ardeshir Jofreh, a member of a band called "Accolade," performs in an unauthorized stage performance in Tehran, Iran.
Iranian musician Ardeshir Jofreh, a member of a band called "Accolade," performs in an unauthorized stage performance in Tehran, Iran.
Iranian back vocalist Azadeh Ettehad and violinist Nastaran Ghaffari, both members of a band called "Accolade," perform in an unauthorized stage performance in Tehran, Iran.
Iranian back vocalist Azadeh Ettehad and violinist Nastaran Ghaffari, both members of a band called "Accolade," perform in an unauthorized stage performance in Tehran, Iran.
Female Iranian violinist Nastaran Ghaffari practices for her band called "Accolade" in a basement of a house in Tehran, Iran.
Female Iranian violinist Nastaran Ghaffari practices for her band called "Accolade" in a basement of a house in Tehran, Iran.

TEHRAN: Heavy metal guitarists jamming in basements. Headphone-wearing disc jockeys mixing beats. It's an underground music scene that is flourishing in Iran, despite government restrictions.

It isn't necessarily a sign of rebellion against Iran's theocratic government, though. Musicians, including a woman violinist who performs underground, say they enjoy the freedom their off-the-record existence provides. Many musicians fled in the 1980s after Iran's Islamic Revolution.

Today, though government minders have allowed some pop concerts to go on, musicians say all the hassles and restrictions make playing underground easier.

''Are we underground because we want to oppose the system? No,'' musician Danial Izadi said. ''We wanted to do what we loved to do.''

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