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World review: Various Artists, Deeyah presents Iranian Woman (Heilo)


When one hears a mournful, yearning female voice singing in another language, the music can resonate with a greater intensity because we don’t know with any certainty what grieves or moves her. And so it is with this collection of contemporary Iranian artists put together by the film-maker and activist Deeyah.

So even though the English translations provided tell us that these are songs to seasons, lovers, children and God; songs that plead, flirt, comfort and aggrandise – you’ll get a more immediate experience if you just let them seep into your bones and grip your heart.

“The Hunt” by the Tehran-born Montreal-based Azam Ali is particularly impressive with its deft blend of the modern and the traditional.