The Jews from Iran and their music

A radio broadcast of the European Institute of Jewish Music, hosted by Hervé Roten


The Jews from Iran have a particular and long history which goes back to 2700 years. Deported in 735 B.C., after the conquest of Israel’s kingdom by Salmanasar V, king of the Assyrians, the Persian Jews settled permanently in their new land. Many pilgrimage sites can be found in Iran : in Hamadân, one can find the tombs of Esther and Mordecai, in Suse, the tomb of Daniel and in Ispahan, the tomb of Sarah Asher, the daughter of the prophet Jacob.


Despite the political events of these last years, there are still around 30.000 Jews in Iran, the biggest Jewish community in a Muslim country. Very little research has been done on the Jews from Iran and their music. Nevertheless, for centuries, Jewish musicians were particularly active in the Iranian musical world, though they represented less than 1% of the population !


Alain Chaoulli, PhD and author of « Jewish musicians in Iran in the 19th and 20th centuries and their contribution to the safeguard of the Iranian musical heritage » as well as two other books on the Jewish musicians of Iran (Editions L’Harmattan, 2006 and 2012), will make us discover this musical heritage, still unknown.


A thrilling broadcast, illustrated as always with many sound samples…

herve_photo_retouche_fond_uni_bleu_500px.jpgOfficer of the Ordre of Arts and letters, PhD in musicology at Paris University Sorbonne, prize-winning graduate from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, Hervé Roten is the director of the European Institute of Jewish Music since its creation in 2006.
Ethnomusicologist, he quickly developed an interest in the safeguard and digitization of archives, subjects he taught for several years in Reims and Marne-La-Vallée universities.
Author of many articles, books and recordings related to Jewish music, producer of radio programs, Hervé Roten is recognized today as one of the best specialists of Jewish music in the world.

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