updated 26-Aug-2007

Javier Palacios and Kamran Hooshmand

July 12, 2001
The Iranian

Partially by research and partially through listening, we know that there are many musical links between Spanish/Latin and Persian cultures. The first link happened through the Moorish influence in Spain from the 7th to the 14th century. According to the Grove dictionary of music, among the musicians who were influencial in introducing Eastern musical modes to Spain was a freed Persian slave named Zaryab (Ziryab) who established the first school of Andalucian music in southern Spain. After the conquest of the Americas, many of these modes and rhythms made their way to the Americas.

A much more recent connection between the two cultures was made during the decades extending from 1950's to 1970's when Latin American popular music was spreading all over the world. Iran was no exception. Much like many American jazz musicians of this era, Iranian "pop" musicians would "dub" popular Latin tunes with Persian lyrics. And they would sound great because the feel of the scales used in Latin love songs would fit well with Persian musical tastes, and thus would sound pleasantly familiar to Iranian ears.

This album is a mixture of the old and the new connections between Latin and Persian musics. We have translated our popular tunes back to each of our own languages, often word by word. Expectedly, the lyrics of these popular romantic songs in both cultures often speak of the same things: Love, passion, loss, beauty, and deep and powerful sadness. Some are very danceable and some contemplative.

Ojala is the CD project of Javier Palacios of Monterey, Mexico, and Kamran Hooshmand of Tehran, Iran. -- From the album description