Iranian Music and Popular Entertainment
Fig. 1. Iranian Music and Popular Entertainment. Courtesy of Routledge, 2015.

Routledge published a book titled "Iranian Music and Popular Entertainment: From Motrebi to Losanjelesi and Beyond" written by GJ Breyley and Sasan Fatemi.

Publication Data

Breyley, GJ & Fatemi, Sasan. Iranian Music and Popular Entertainment: From Motrebi to Losanjelesi and Beyond. Routledge, 2015. ISBN: 9780415575126.


The word motreb finds its roots in the Arabic verb taraba, meaning ‘to make happy.’ Originally denoting all musicians in Iran, motrebi came to be associated, pejoratively, with the cheerful vulgarity of the lowbrow entertainer.

In Iranian Music and Popular Entertainment, GJ Breyley and Sasan Fatemi examine the historically overlooked motrebi milieu, with its marginalized characters, from luti to gardan koloft and mashti, as well as the tenacity of motreb who continued their careers against all odds. They then turn to losanjelesi, the most pervasive form of Iranian popular music that developed as motrebi declined, and related musical forms in Iran and its diasporic popular cultural centre, Los Angeles. For the first time in English, the book makes available musical transcriptions, analysis and lyrics that illustrate the complexities of this history. As it presents the findings of the authors’ years of ethnographic work with the history’s protagonists, from senior motreb to pop-rock stars, the book reveals parallels between the decline of motrebi and the rise of ‘modernity.’ In the twentieth century, the fate of Tehran’s motrebi music was shaped by the social and urban polarization that ensued from the modern market economy, and losanjelesi would be similarly affected by transnational relations, revolution, war and migration.

Table of Contents

1. "Producing Pleasure:" Tehran’s Motreb and Ruhowzi
2. Contradictory Characters and Marginalization: From Luti to Gardan Koloft and Mashti
3. The Repertoires of Motrebi Music
4. The Evolution of the Motrebi Milieu
5. The Evolution of Iranian Popular Music
6. Before the Revolution: Television, "the West" and "Modernity" (1965-79)
7. After the Revolution: The Los Angeles Factor (1979-97)
8. Made in Iran: New Popular Music (1997-2014)

About the Authors

GJ Breyley is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at Monash University and convener of the Central and West Asia and Diasporas research network.

Sasan Fatemi is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Tehran, Iran, and editor of Mahoor Quarterly.

To order the book online visit the Routledge website.