Waking up the Colours: Memory and Allegory in Iranian Hip Hop and Ambient Music


"This article examines three examples of twenty-first-century Iranian popular music and draws on the theories of Walter Benjamin to analyse their representations of memory and their use of elements of allegory. The three artists, azila, Salome MC and Siavash Amini, were all born in the wake of Iran's 1979 revolution, during the long, devastating Iran-Iraq War. At this time, there was a baby boom in Iran, with the result that this generation is numerically the largest now living in Iran and the diaspora. Nazila, Salome and Siavash all produced much of their musical work in Iran's capital, Tehran, but each artist comes from a slightly different socioeconomic and cultural background. These differences are reflected in their work and their approaches to memory, representation and allegory. However, despite differences in sociocultural context and musical and literary forms, each artist draws on the allegorical possibilities that emerge when music and literature meet, creating music that reflects personal and collective memory, including traces of pain."

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Published 1 June 2014 in Volume 29 No. 1-2. Subjects: Interdisciplinary studies, Iran, Music, Popular music.

Cite as: Breyley, G.J.. ‘Waking up the Colours: Memory and Allegory in Iranian Hip Hop and Ambient Music.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 29, no. 1-2, 2014, doi: 10.20314/als.3e203f4d1f.