'under the bruised sky': music and mourning in post-revolutionary Iran

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Melodic mourning, or elegiac singing, is a central feature of Shi'a Islam, the dominant faith of Iran. Nohe khani is performed primarily in honour of Shi'a Imams, by a professional mourner known as a Maddah, and traditionally in communal contexts, enabling sociability and the sharing of spiritual and personal grief, as participants weep for recent losses as well as those of the distant past. While professional mourners continue to facilitate communal grieving, the ensuing forms of sociability and sharing of emotions are quite different. This chapter examines some of the changes around elegiac singing in Iran since 1979, as well as aspects of the emotional, spiritual and social lives of its participants. After considering the broader context of Maddahi in urban, postwar Iran, the chapter examines the ways the management, fans and detractors of one young Tehrani Maddah, known as Abdol Reza Helali, have used and/or responded to representations of the professional religious singer.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusic and Mourning
EditorsJane W Davidson, Sandra Garrido
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315596648
ISBN (Print)9781472458797
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameMusic and Change: Ecological Perspectives
PublisherTaylor & Francis Group

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