There Was a Door to Which I Found No Key: Resistance, Performance, and Cultural Revival in Khayami Folk Music


Ehsan Mohammadi (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

During the recent years, Khayami (a contemporary folk music) has been revived in Bushehr (a city in southwest Iran) and people take every opportunity to practice this soiree music. Throughout the performance, a singer sings Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám and there is usually a reciprocal relation between the singer and audiences. Although it was a male-centered performance during the earlier decades, today, families and the women also take part actively. During the time (1980’s) that playing bagpipe (Ney Anban) was forbidden in Iran, due to the resistance, significant endeavors, and unremitting efforts of local musicians and enthusiasts, this folk music has been maintained. Today, however, many music bands perform Khayami as part of their performance and people keep practicing Khayami in the cafes or gathering places. In my discussion, I’ll ponder upon its social and contemporary features and delineate the way it has been contextualized in the life and customs of people.

Part of 11-01 Dynamics of Belief and Practice in the Ritual Context: Five Cases from Contemporary Iran, Monday, October 18, 9:30 am–11:00 am