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Iranian Country Music

Blues, country music, cowboy boots, and twang: welcome to the ever-widening world of Persian music.

The Iranian band "Kiosk" was awarded the Best Blues Band of 2008 by the World Academy of Arts, Literature, and Media in October (listen to their latest album, "Global Zoo," here).

The band began in a basement in Iran, just a couple of friends and a guitar. While American country music is often characterized by a personal story -- -- getting the wife, the job, or the dog back -- Persian country music lyrics tend to revolve around more entertaining or lightly political subjects.

Sometimes, though, language appears the only difference between the two countries' genres, as the following music video featuring Mehdi Mafi demonstrates:

It's unusual in its down-to-the-detail imitation of American country music, cowboy hats included.

Contemporary music in Iran is ever the amalgamation, and influences from American country music pop up most often in newer, more experimental bluesy songs.

Many artists are also blending the musically adaptable blues into the country's eastern harmonic heritage. One example is Shahryar Masrour, whose 2008 album "Sometimes" is a fusion of blues and country influences.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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