Mohsen Namjoo: Iran’s Bob Dylan
With a blend of classical Persian rhythms, religious songs, rock, and blues, Mohsen Namjoo represents the eclectic blend of modern Iranian life. Known as the Iranian Bob Dylan, he began as an underground artist in Mahshad—one of the holiest sites in the country and thus a challenging environment for musicians wishing to incorporate Western elements.
After his 2007 debut album Toranj brought him into the limelight and under government scrutiny, Namjoo left Iran, eventually settling at Brown University in Rhode Island as an artist in residence. Thus far he has released seven more albums—most recently Personal Cipher—and performed across Europe, while retaining a following in Iran.
His music fuses diverse styles from the past and present, and Namjoo finds ways to show Iranian culture throughout. “What’s important is that I don’t want to do this with folklore music of another place, so it’s a way of paying respect to my own traditions,” he says.
You can view an interview with the artist here.