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The Golha Project

Source: The Iran Heritage Foundation

This 6-minute film introduces Iran Heritage Foundation's Golha Project. This project will create a free online database of the complete archive of all 1,616 Golha radio programmes produced between 1956 and 1979 in Iran for students, researchers and enthusiasts everywhere.

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This digital musical archive will be available in perpetuity to a worldwide audience, and it will include biographies of all the poets and artists included in the programmes and musical notes for all the pieces. The custom software being developed will allow users to search the database by any of a range of different categories.

Golha Project Overview:

The music and literary repertoire of the programmes known generally as Golha, 'Flowers [of Persian Poetry and Song]' was a series of weekly radio programmes aired on Iranian radio between 1956 and 1979 which covered the entire history of classical as well as contemporary Persian poetry, giving expression to the whole gamut of traditional Persian music and poetry. The foremost and best musicians, vocalists, literary critics, poets and announcers performed on the programmes, thus providing a unique - and still the best and most poetically diverse - recorded collection of the classical corpus of Persian music and poetry made in the 20th century.

This project proposes to construct a digital archive of the series for access by academic researchers of Persian music and literature and the public at large. The first phase of the project, which was to compile and digitalize a complete archive of all the Golha radio programmes, was completed in 2008 by Jane Lewisohn under the auspices and support of the Endangered Archives Programme of the British Library where a copy of the complete digital archive is currently kept in the National Sound Archive World Music Section there. Iran Heritage Foundation will be involved in the second phase of the project which aims to create a searchable, relational database of the entire archive including bio-bibliographical data on the performers and authors, musical notation for the songs, transcription of the poetry and the commentaries included in the programmes. This database will be made available over the internet by means of a purpose-built website linked exclusively to the IHF website.

The archive as a whole will be a unique cultural resource which can both be enjoyed by students and lovers of Persian culture and also used as a teaching tool for both Persian music and Persian literature.

About: The Iran Heritage Foundation ( is a non-political UK registered charity with the mission to promote and preserve the history, languages and cultures of Iran and the Persianate world. The objectives of the Foundation are pursued by organising, on a worldwide basis, diverse activities of cultural or scholarly merit. IHF programmes include academic research, publishing and fellowships at top universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews, and Exeter and at museums in the United Kingdom and abroad. Most recently, the IHF launched its Institutional Partnership Programme with posts supported at the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, and St Andrews and at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution (read more).

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