Rahill Jamalifard

REORIENT Radio – Rahill Jamalifard

Lock up your daughters and keep an eye on ‘em boys: here’s Rahill Jamalifard

We met at an old record store a stone’s throw away from the corner bar in St. Mark’s Place. ‘Asha would have loved it here’, I had told her on the telephone earlier, while staring at the jarring sleeve of Tattoo You someone had hung behind a row of glistening booze bottles. There we were in Manhattan, Rahill and I, while a million miles away, Asha was languishing in his Tehran bedroom daydreaming about Keith Richards.

After penning the story of Asha, my ‘Persian punk poet wrought of fire and stone’, I began looking around here and there for someone who could introduce the kid. In some hole in the wall, I scribbled on a napkin ‘the bill’:

1. Iranian (preferably)
2. Must roll first and rock second
3. Must know how to work an electric guitar

Enter Rahill Jamalifard. If she doesn’t fit the bill, I don’t know who does. Hailing from the city of poets and nightingales in mighty Pars, she’s been strutting her stuff around the boroughs like it’s nobody’s business. Having enjoyed a successful stint with her all-girl group, Habibi, Roya (‘Dream’ in Persian) is her latest gig. She’s recorded with Sean Lennon, hung out backstage with a topless Lady Gaga, and been called the ‘Iranian Nan Goldin’ (she can work a camera, too). Roya’s debut album is scheduled for release later this year, so I won’t get to share the juicy demos Rahill has sent me; but you can, for now, listen to this conversation of ours about her music degenerate into one about Iranian supermarkets, washed-up pop stars, and chelo kabab. 

Cover image courtesy Tony Farfalla (Instagram: @tony_farfalla).

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Filed under: Music, REORIENT Radio

About the Author

Joobin Bekhrad
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An award-winning writer, Joobin Bekhrad (BBA, MSc.) is the founder and Editor of REORIENT. He has contributed to such publications as The Guardian, The Economist, the BBC, Forbes, i-D/Vice, Frieze, The Columbia Journal (whose Guest Editor he served as in 2016), The British Library's Untold Lives, Encyclopaedia Iranica, Aesthetica, Artsy, and Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia, been interviewed by news outlets including Newsweek, The Art Newspaper, and the CBC, and seen his writings republished and translated into a variety of languages. He is the author of a translation of Omar Khayyam’s Robaiyat, a novella (Coming Down Again), a collection of stories (With My Head in the Clouds and Stars in My Eyes), and a volume of poetry (Lovers of Light).