Artists

Featuring the legendary super star,

Sattar

Sattar is one of the most famous and most influential singers in Persian music and is both a household name and an inspiration for generations of Persian artists. He had gained fame before the Islamic Revolution at the age of 22 when he released the theme song to a popular television show. His Persian pop style made him a household name across the Middle East and became the Pahlavi Royal Family court singer until the political upheavals of the late 1970s. He was forced to leave Iran in 1978 and has taken residence in the United States since then. However, his rise to fame did not stop with exile; Sattar continued to perform and capture the hearts and minds of generations of Persian living all over the world. With over 50 years of fame, Sattar remains committed to supporting freedom of expression and human rights.

TarantisT

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Formed in 2000 by a group of young underground metal heads, TARANTIST originated in the basement alternative rock and heavy metal scenes in their native Tehran, Iran. Having to perform secretly but loudly often proved to be difficult, but after sparking a following via word of mouth in the underground, the band soon began to garner international recognition. Within just a few years, international media correspondents inspired by their story (including BBC, SKY, CNN, NPR, Metal Hammer and Kerrang) started visiting Tehran to meet and talk with TARANTIST. These news reports and articles aided TARANTIST in cultivating a worldwide following – motivating the band to relocate to the United States Los Angeles in 2008.

Kiosk

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Starting in Iran in 2003, Kiosk quickly became noticed by many for their groundbreaking political commentary and satirical references to socio-political issues in Iran. However, they were also quickly noticed by the government. After censorship and restriction by Iranian authorities, the band fled the country so that they could play their music a blend of Iranian folk, gypsy jazz, and rock. Kiosk's music has been described by BBC World as "songs that speak to a generation.” Frontman Arash Sobhani's lyrics have been referenced by The New York Times and referred to by the Frankfurt General Newspaper as "a guiding light for many,” while Frontline PBS refers to Sobhani's “poignantly powerful lyrics and smooth, melodic tone that belies the fire and rage of one of Iran's most prolific contemporary social critics." 

Nikita

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Bardia

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Swedish/Persian Nikita (So Nikki) is the perfect storm of an artist with a seductive voice and street attitude. Nikita came to prominent in 2017 after competing in a Persian talent show and independently releasing a couple of songs in Farsi. Enjoying worldwide success, Nikitas songs have accumulated 96 million streams with concerts all over the states and Asia and have today over a quarter million followers on Instagram. Nikitas style can be described as dynamic music; mixing pop oriental, hip-hop and RnB.

Shery M

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Shahrzad Mohammadi (a.k.a. SheryM or Shery) is an international singer/songwriter and fashion designer with Persian roots. Shery is originally from Tehran, Iran where she achieved initial fame. Her career came to an abrupt end due to the situation in which she became known to the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and as such had to flee the country. After a dangerous and long road with periods in different countries she allocated herself to Austria and seeking refuge there. After a time of stabilizing her life, she started her creative work from the city of Vienna.Over the years in exile she found her power in the wide vocal range that she poses and started to work into different genres.

Mehdi Mousavi

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Mehdi Mousavi is a poet, author, literature criticizer, lyricist, and pharmaceutical doctor. As one of the most prominent alternative and activists poets, he has published 16 books and has conducted and taken place in literature workshops since 1999. Numerous Iranian musicians have used his poems as lyrics for their songs. His poem “Gorbeh” (Cat) is the story of Iran, a land with a rich history in dignity now occupied in the claws of rats. The grief of losing the homeland, which here is likened to a cat (as it mirrors the shape of the country). The poem is a lament for a friend who is no longer with us; he has been imprisoned, killed, or exiled. 

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Mehdi Mousavi is a poet, author, literature criticizer, lyricist, and pharmaceutical doctor. As one of the most prominent alternative and activists poets, he has published 16 books and has conducted and taken place in literature workshops since 1999. Numerous Iranian musicians have used his poems as lyrics for their songs. His poem “Gorbeh” (Cat) is the story of Iran. A land with a rich history in dignity and glory, now occupied in the claws of rats. The grief of losing the homeland, which here is likened to a cat (as it mirrors the shape of the country) that has fallen into the hands of rats. The poem is a lament for a friend who is no longer with us; he has been imprisoned, killed, or exiled. The poem does not speak of his fate but his sorrow. It speaks of a person who is no longer with us and represents concepts such as freedom and hope.  

Fatemeh Ekhtesari

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Fatemeh Ekhtesari is a poet, author, and women’s rights activist who has published 9 books of poems. As one of the most prominent Iranian female poets, Fatemeh’s words expressing a range of emotions from love and grief to anger and fear have been used by numerous Iranian musicians as lyrics to their songs. Her spoken-word piece included in HOMANITY, “There Was Blood,” focuses on the pain of every human who seeks freedom from oppression. The poem focuses on the pain felt by generations fighting for freedom and how relevant and common this pain has been across time. She is currently editor in chief of “Hamin Farda Bood” (it was like tomorrow), and “Zhe” (letter J, sounding zh, in Farsi”. 

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Fatemeh Ekhtesari is a poet, author, and women’s rights activist who has published 9 books of poems. As one of the most prominent Iranian female poets, Fatemeh’s work has been used by numerous Iranian musicians as lyrics to their songs. As a poet living in Iran, her works were heavily censored, even when she took careful steps to remove ‘forbidden words’ such as lips and bed. Even while attempting to remain compliant, she was arrested, imprisoned, and sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison and 99 lashes, a sentence that she and her husband Dr. Mehdi Mousavi evaded by fleeing on foot over the mountains. After her arrest, her previous works were burned and even her name banned. Her spoken-word piece included in HOMANITY, “There Was Blood,” focuses on the pain of every human who seeks freedom from oppression. The poem focuses on the pain felt by generations fighting for freedom and how relevant and common this pain has been across time. She is currently editor in chief of “Hamin Farda Bood” (it was like tomorrow), and “Zhe” (letter J, sounding zh, in Farsi

Shaya

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At 18 years old, Shaya was arrested for performing as a woman in Iran. From a young age, music was a passion for Shaya, so in spite of the inherent danger, she continues to write and sing her own music. Her songs focus on love and are a true testament to her spirit and her resilience in the face of danger. She uses her art as a platform for protest. 

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From a young age, music was a passion for Shaya; so, in spite of the inherent danger, she continues to write and sing her own music. Her songs, focusing often on love, are a true testament to her spirit and her resilience in the face of danger. She continues to use her art as a platform for protest for artistic freedom. 

Justina

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Justina, a female rapper has been fighting back against censorship for years. Starting in 2008, she has produced dozens of tracks and albums focusing on discrimination against women and the radicalization of religion in Iran. The regime quickly targeted Justina for both her radical lyrics and for being a woman. She was detained by the government, her family was harassed, her home was raided, and her music and equipment was destroyed. Refusing to stop recording even after continued threats by the government, Justina fled the country to continue recording and fighting for women’s rights to have a voice in Iran.

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Justina has been fighting back against censorship for years. Starting in 2008, she has produced dozens of tracks and albums focusing on discrimination against women and the radicalization of religion in Iran. The regime quickly targeted Justina for both her radical lyrics and for being a woman. She was detained by the government, her family was harassed, her home was raided, and her music and equipment was destroyed. Refusing to stop recording even after continued threats by the government, Justina fled the country to continue recording and fighting for women’s rights to have a voice in Iran.

Bardia

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Bardia started playing guitar at the age of 14 and continued his study majoring music and arrangement. Rather than the university, he started playing music in the street and formed a band called “Pelak 60” (number 60). His music largely focuses on politics and current affairs, which ultimately made him a target of the Islamic Republic. Due to restrictions and pressure by the morality police, he was forced to flee Iran and is currently residing in Germany where he continues to write music.

Behrouz

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An Iranian-British singer, songwriter-producer, he is currently fronting the band Los Bravos. Born in Iran, Behrouz completed his studies at the ICMP with a Master’s Degree in Music Performance, in London where he currently lives, to avoid persecution for his music. The song Ray Bi Ray “no more voting,” he has written and produced for HOMANITY, is a song that focuses on the rigged election system in Iranian that perpetuates a cycle of corruption and abuse that victimizes the people of Iran. 

Hero & Frya

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Hero & Frya are a husband and wife that are members of the “Kurdish” community, an ethnic minority group who have, for decades, suffered discrimination, abuse, and persecution in Iran and across the Middle East. As Kurds, it is illegal to sing in their native language and practice their traditions. Not only do Hero and Frya celebrate their ethnic heritage by singing in the Kurdish language, but they also defy the regime by having female vocals in their music. As a result of their devotion to the fight against censorship, the couple was forced to leave Iran. Their music and their story inspire a new generation of Iranian musicians and activists by recording controversial music with themes of social justice, raising awareness of minority rights, and women’s rights. 

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Hero & Frya are a husband and wife that are members of the “Kurdish” community, an ethnic minority group who have, for decades, suffered discrimination, abuse, and persecution in Iran and across the Middle East. As Kurds, it is illegal to sing in their native language and practice their traditions. Not only do Hero and Frya celebrate their ethnic heritage by singing in the Kurdish language, but they also defy the regime by having female vocals in their music. As a result of their devotion to the fight against censorship, the couple was forced to leave Iran. Their music and their story inspire a new generation of Iranian musicians and activists by recording controversial music with themes of social justice, raising awareness of minority rights, and women’s rights.