Since Iranian uprisings against the country’s oppressive regime began last fall, one silver living is that the music of Iranian artists is being noticed and listened to by a global audience.
Two of these artists, producers AIDA and Nesa Azadikhah, have curated Woman, Life, Freedom, a 12-song compilation of original electronic music from female Iranian artists released on Friday (Jan. 20) via Apranik Records, founded in 2022 as a response to the protests.
“Woman, Life, Freedom” is the slogan for this movement, which began after the murder of 22-year-old Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, by the country’s morality police on Sep. 16. The global outpouring in the wake of the protests has found its way into all art forms, with music arguably at the forefront.
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s punishment of its people through imprisonment, sentences and executions — including that of high-profile individuals such as rapper Toomaj Salehi — is motivating artists to create. Featuring female Iranian producers TK SarrSew, MENTRIX and Sharona Lico as well as AIDA and Azadikhah, Woman, Life, Freedom ranges in style from electro to breaks to techno, ambient and experimental. The tracks are bold and unapologetic, with topics and inspiration wholly tied to the current situation in Iran.
AIDA and Azadikhah represent the far ends of the Iranian population spectrum. AIDA is an Iranian producer living abroad, with her international perspective and strong roots to her ancestral country both reflected in her music. A DJ/producer who’s equally skilled in playing traditional Iranian instruments, Azadikhah lives in the capital city of Tehran, creating within the confines of a regime which believes in silencing women, particularly in song.
“The theme of this collection is power, defiance, and ferocity and can be heard across all of the tracks,” AIDA and Azadikhah share in a statement. “This is the energy with which Iranian women continue to push for freedom. We dream of a future where women and girls can openly and safely practice, grow, and shine within arts, especially electronic music.”
Proceeds from the not-for-profit compilation will benefit charities aimed at helping women who are struggling in Iran. The first of these Iran-based organizations specifically aids women and children recovering from domestic violence, addiction, homelessness and societal distress.