After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, pop music’s future seemed dark because of new Islamic laws and restrictions, and many musicians migrated to foreign countries. Raks Raks Raks: 27 Golden Garage Psych Nuggets from the Iranian 60s Scene (“Dance! Dance! Dance!”) hearkens back to a pre-Revolutionary time, before making music was all but forbidden. It was around the 50s and early 60s when the “Sultan of Pop” Viguen Derderian — considered by some to be the Persian Elvis — became one of the first musicians in Iran to perform with a guitar, later incorporating traditional instruments, as well as electric guitar and jazz elements.
The tracks on Raks Raks Raks possess influences from Western British Invasion rock groups such as the Beatles, with a tinge of traditional Persian musical stylings. Indeed, the “nuggets” on this album seem to be more “underground” tracks as they are more raw and less cheesy than the music of Viguen and his contemporaries. Some recommended listens include the title track, “Raks Raks Raks,” performed in Farsi by Moha Jamin, a track performed by Zia, “Man Kiam,” which closely resembling the Monkees’ song, “I’m a Believer,” and a cut of then-rising popstar Googoosh performing an admirable rock and roll rendition of the classic originally sung by Aretha Franklin, “Respect.”
Raks Raks Raks is a unique listen to a cross-section of the sixties music scene in Iran. The album, as well as mp3 samples, can be found here.
– Ingrid Farfalle