The Golha Archive is an online digitized and fully indexed archive of the Golha radion programs. After more than seven years of intensive work, the Golha archive website is now live, and is available to the public for free. The Golha Project is being supported by the Iran Heritage Foundation (IHF) in the UK, and IHF America in the US.
The Golha (‘Flowers of Persian Song and Music’) radio programs were broadcast on Iranian National Radio for 23 years from 1956 through 1979. They comprised approximately 850 hours of programs made up of literary commentary with the declamation of poetry, which is also sung with musical accompaniment, interspersed with solo musical pieces.
The programs themselves were the brainchild of Davoud Pirnia, a one-time Assistant Prime Minister, who in addition to being a well-known politician and judge, was an enthusiastic patriot and scholar who harboured a deep love for Persian culture and its rich literary and musical traditions. When he retired from political life in 1956, for the next eleven years he devoted himself tirelessly to producing of the Golha programs.
Pirnia persuaded many of the foremost figures in classical Persian studies in Iran to work alongside him, so that the most formidable literary, academic and musical talents of his day offered him their collaboration and support. These included professors of Islamic Studies like Jalal al-Din Homa’i, Sa‘id Nafisi and Badi‘ al-Zaman Foruzanfar, the writer, scholar and senator ‘Ali Dashti, Iran’s poet laureate Lotf ‘Ali Suratgar, the historian Rezazada Shafaq, and the great song-writers and poets such as Mu‘ini Kermanshahi, ‘Emad Khorasani, Rahi Mo‘ayyeri, Toraj Negahban, Shahriyar, Simin Behbahani, Hushang Ebtehaj (Sayeh) and Bizhan Taraqqi. All the most eminent literary critics, famous radio announcers, singers, composers and musicians in Iran also participated in them. These included the likes of musicians and composers such as Abu’l-Hasan Saba, Mortaza Mahjubi, Ruho’llah Khaleqi, Habibo’llah Badi’i, Lutfo’llah Majd, Mortaza Naydavud, Hasan Kasa’i, Jalil Shahnaz, Reza Varzanda, Hasan Kasa’i, Ahmad ‘Ebadi, Farhang Sharif, Husayn Tehrani. The greatest Iranian vocalists of the twentieth century such as Banan, Marziya, Humayra, Qavami, Golpayegani, Iraj, ‘Abd al-Wahhab Shahidi, Sima Bina, and Puran were also featured in the Golha programs. Even Iran’s supreme virtuoso singer—Mohammad Reza Shajarian—saw his career launched on these radio programs.
In early 2005, Jane Lewisohn (Department of Music, SOAS, University of London) set out to find, collect, archive and digitalize the entire Golha archive for posterity. The “Golha Project” pilot project supported by the Iran Heritage Foundation in London, the British Institute of Persian Studies and the Department of Music at SOAS, University of London. Following the success of the pilot project, with the support of the Department of Music at SOAS and a substantial British Library Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Grant the project was launched and expananded. Over the next two years – 2006 and 2007 – Jane made many trips to Iran, France, Germany, Canada and the United States, collecting the Golha programs, in which she was assisted by many generous private and institutional collectors. In July 2007, the first digital copy of the complete collection of the Golha archive was deposited in the British Library’s World Sound Archive.
In 2008, the second phase of the Golha Project was launched with the support of the Iran Heritage Foundation, the British Academy, PARSA Community Foundation and the Department of Music at SOAS. This phase, was completed and launched in August 2012, has constructed an online searchable database for the Golha programs which will include bio-bibliographical data on the performers and authors (where applicable, their photographs) musical notation for the songs, transcriptions of the poetry, and commentaries included in the programs. The website and database allow one to search the database by program name, number, singer of the avaz and tarana, song writer, poet of the avaz, first line of the song or poem sung, name of the song, instrument, musician, composer, name of poet whose poetry is sung or declaimed, the poetic genre of the poem, dastgah or avaz and gusha of the music performed see the video:
The Golha Project is being supported by th Iran Heritage Foundation (IHF in the UK, and IHF America in the US. Donations to these organizations will help to expand and prome the project. People who reside in the US and would like to help the project can use the donate button on this page to make a donation.
IHF America proudly presents the Cyrus Cylinder US Tour, in partnership with the British Museum and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution: cyruscylinder2013.com