Resistance against Iran’s oppressive Islamic regime, which has governed the country for the last 44 years, is now in its fifth month. The uprising, which was sparked by the Sep. 16 murder of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, has resulted in hundreds of deaths — among them, four executions by public hanging, and over 18,000 imprisonments including that of outspoken dissenting rapper, Toomaj Salehi.
Abroad, Iranians are being celebrated. At this year’s Grammys, the frontrunner for the inaugural special merit award for song for social change is Iranian musician Shervin Hajipour’s “Baraye.” And ahead of the big show on Feb. 5, Spotify has launched a new official playlist titled “Women of Iran.”
Curated by the DSP’s associate manager, artist partnerships, Iranian-American Leila Kashfi, the playlist aims to amplify the voices of Iranian women and their global allies. The curated compilation reflects core characteristics of Iran’s ancient culture, which is steeped in music, dance and art, celebrating the beauty of a country that is unfamiliar to many. With universally relatable themes, it pulls from 100 songs, creating an algorithm-driven 50-song custom selection for each listener.
“Women of Iran” highlights generational perspectives ranging from traditional Iranian vocalists who have been releasing perennial favorites for the last five decades, to modern songs that speak to the struggle of living under the Islamic Republic of Iran, some of them specifically about the present-day uprisings. Classic or contemporary, the songs are primarily in Farsi, with some English selections sprinkled in.
Five songs will be pinned to every user’s playlist, including Hajipour’s “Baraye” and Salehi’s “Soorakh Moosh.” The other three are “Dobareh,” a collective song led by iconic artist Googoosh, “Soroode Zan” from popular singer Mehdi Yarrahi, and a song that translates to “Freedom Anthem” by a collective calling themselves Ethnic Musicians.
In addition to the music, Spotify is activating playlist clips for “Women of Iran.” These feature video stories that live on the platform, sharing Iranian creatives’ views on freedom of expression.
The first wave of playlist clips features Academy Award nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo, designer Paria Farzaneh, comedian Maz Jobrani, as well as electronic musicians Dubfire, KITTENS and nostalgix, and of course, Googoosh. More clips will be added to the playlist over time.