9 episodes

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. But at the height of their fame, they left the country. It has always been a mystery to our host Danielle Dardashti and her sister Galeet – Why did their family leave Iran? Now, in a documentary podcast series, the sisters reveal painful secrets unspoken for generations. The Nightingale of Iran is a story that will resonate with outsiders everywhere.

The Nightingale of Iran Danielle Dardashti, Galeet Dardashti

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.8 • 156 Ratings

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. But at the height of their fame, they left the country. It has always been a mystery to our host Danielle Dardashti and her sister Galeet – Why did their family leave Iran? Now, in a documentary podcast series, the sisters reveal painful secrets unspoken for generations. The Nightingale of Iran is a story that will resonate with outsiders everywhere.

    Episode 1 - The Time Machine

    Episode 1 - The Time Machine

    Danielle and Galeet grew up in a family band. They sang in 12 languages, but not Persian. This seems odd since their father and grandfather were famous Iranian singers. Then, they make a discovery.

    • 33 min
    Episode 2 - Singing in the Dark

    Episode 2 - Singing in the Dark

    Danielle and Galeet’s grandfather Younes Dardashti grew up an orphan in Tehran’s Jewish ghetto. He was gifted with a gorgeous voice, but had a difficult childhood: He lived with an abusive uncle who forbade him from singing. In his late teens, he left his uncle’s house, got a job with the Iranian Railroad and, years later, he married Houri Aziz-Zadeh. In the 1940s, life changed rapidly for the Jews of Iran – a new Shah granted equal rights to Jews, women, and other marginalized groups. Jews could move out of the ghetto into neighborhoods integrated with Muslims. One night, Younes found himself at a party attended by Qamar-ol-Moluk Vaziri, a famous female Muslim singer.  Suddenly, the power went out. And in the dark and quiet, Younes started to sing. This was the moment that everything changed, and he became The Nightingale of Iran.Co-creators / Co-executive producers - Danielle Dardashti and Galeet DardashtiThe Nightingale of Iran - nightingaleofiran.comPresented by The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a publication of 70 Faces MediaHost - Danielle DardashtiWriter / Director / Senior Producer - Danielle DardashtiProducer / Musical Director / Subject Matter Expert - Galeet DardashtiAudio Editors / Sound Designers - Rebecca Seidel and Zachary GoldbergStory Editor - Rider AlsopStory Consultant - Asal EhsanipourComposer of Theme Song - Galeet Dardashti: “Melekh” from her album Monajat, featuring Younes Dardashti (with Shanir Blumenkranz, Max ZT, Zafer Tawil, Philip Mayer)In Episode 2, Singing in The Dark, you heard our conversations with: Farid Dardashti, Habib Partow, Schelly Dardashti, Houman Sarshar, Laura Younai, Rachel Nazarian Ehsagpour, Haideh Herbert.  Alan Niku interviewed Manucher Bibiyan.Thank you to our sponsors:-Jewish Writers’ Initiative Digital Storytellers Lab / Maimonides Fund-Common Era-Younes and Soraya Nazarian Family Foundation-The Himan Brown Charitable Trust-Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History-UCLA Mickey Katz Endowed Chair in Jewish Music-Be’chol Lashon (fiscal sponsor)Dedication: This is for you Dadders!!! We love you (and Mommy) so much!!!! xoxWe are so grateful for: our extraordinary husbands, Roni Sarig and Mason Weisz, who have contributed in countless ways big and small; Danielle’s amazing kids, Uri Dardashti Sarig and Raquel Dardashti Sarig, who lent their talents in story editing, sound capture, episode cover art design, and more; and Galeet’s kids -Yaniv and Adin–for being such incredible humans.There are so many people we want to thank for their love, guidance, support, and inspiration on this project: Houri & Younes Dardashti, Millie & Louie Heifetz, Michelle Dardashti, Yadid Dardashti, Shahnaze Dardashti, Hamid Dardashti, Louise Motevassel, David Dardashti, Niloo Dardashti, Schelly Dardashti, Jina Aziz-Zadeh, Dawne Bear Novicoff, Vicki Compter Lefkowitz, Jeni Friedman, Rebecca Friedman, Rebecca Guber, Debbie Kolben, Ami Eden, Caleb Guedes Reed, Sharon Nazarian, Jessamyn Rodriguez, Yonah Schiller, Richard Kay, Mark Kligman, Sarah Lefton, Janine Okmin, Arielle Nissenblatt, Ilana Nevins, Lior Sternfeld, Edwin Seroussi, Mohsen Mohammadi, Hasan Sarbakhshian, Sierra Ulrich, David Shofet, Sarah Benor and Hadas Bram.Intro credits read by: Michelle DardashtiCover art design: Ghulam NabiAssistants: Courtney Cunningham & Jessica DeWeeseMarketing / PR:  TinkDistributed by PRX, the Public Media Exchange

    • 38 min
    Episode 3 - The Tehran Teen Idol

    Episode 3 - The Tehran Teen Idol

    Farid Dardashti, was born in Tehran in 1942. He had natural music talent and a gorgeous voice. He got offered a weekly show singing on Iranian TV. He was an instant hit and became a teen idol. But after six months, he left the country. This didn’t make sense to Danielle and Galeet. But they were missing an important piece of the story.

    • 36 min
    Episode 4 - Ashkenormalization

    Episode 4 - Ashkenormalization

    On his way from Iran to America for college, Farid spent the summer in Israel. A man recognized him from Iranian TV and invited him to sing at an event. A family of visiting Americans heard him sing, and it changed the course of his entire life.

    • 33 min
    Episode 5 - Savta’s Dream

    Episode 5 - Savta’s Dream

    Houri Dardashti had long dreamed of moving to Israel from Iran. Eventually, she and her radio star husband Younes made the move. But Younes felt like an outsider in Israel. For a decade, he flew back to Iran to do concerts and sing on the radio. But when the Islamic Revolution happened, Younes could never return to Iran, and he was erased from Iranian history.

    • 36 min
    Episode 6 - Where I am From

    Episode 6 - Where I am From

    Growing up, Danielle didn’t know many families like hers in mainstream Jewish America. These days, there’s growing awareness about the diversity of the Jewish experience.

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
156 Ratings

156 Ratings

Dafnadafi ,

Amazing storytelling

I listened to all of it over 2 sittings. Such a fascinating story. So well told. I was completely captivated. And the Exquisite singing voices! What a precious gift! History brought to light. Thank you , really inspiring.

tzippiminda ,

Captivating

I listened to the first four episodes in one day and excitedly waited for the next two. This story is beautiful and fascinating. There were so many details of both Jewish and Iranian history I had never heard before, but it was the depth of family experiences that made them meaningful. I truly didn’t want this podcast to end.

JackieSF ,

Incredibly touching and educational

I was brought to tears throughout this podcast and of course when it ended. It’s fascinating as a Persian Jewish woman to learn about the story of another Persian Jewish family. I learned so much of our history and if felt like my family story. It explained so much of my family, why they acted/responded to much of the world as they did. I feel closer to my family and culture. I loved this podcast, thank you Dardashti sisters and family. Bless you all.

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