The Nightingale Of Iran: A Podcast About Identity, Belonging, And Music

Frank Racioppi
Ear Worthy
Published in
3 min readFeb 5, 2024

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What if I told you that a Jewish singer was a national celebrity in the nation of Iran? You’d probably scoff and head to a fact-checking service to confirm my inaccuracy. With the socio-political and religious events in the 40 years, you’d be right in answering, “impossible”

However, politics is like the weather in its capriciousness and shifting winds. Back in the 1950s, Tehran under the Shah was a cultural center of the world and called the Paris of the Middle East.

It was a golden age for Jews in Iran. In the 1950s, a religious Jew — Younes Dardashti — became a national celebrity, singing at the Shah’s palace and on the radio. In the 1960s, his son Farid became a teen idol on TV. They were beloved by Iranian Muslims.

Younes Dardashti was so famous that he was known as The Nightingale Of Iran. The nightingale is the official national bird of Iran.

In medieval Persian literature, the nightingale’s enjoyable song has made it a symbol of the lover who is eloquent, passionate, and doomed to love in vain. In Persian poetry, the object of the nightingale’s affections is the rose, which embodies both the perfection of earthly beauty and the arrogance of that perfection.

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Frank Racioppi
Ear Worthy

I am a South Jersey-based writer who manages Podcast Reports on Blogger and have a book available on Amazon about podcasts and podcasting called “Ear Worthy.”