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Sima Bina’s Lullabies

Sima Bina is well-known to several generations of Iranians. She started her singing career with Radio Iran’s children’s programme at the age of nine and moved to the radio’s prestigious music programme, Golha, when she was only fifteen. But her main interest had always been in Persian folk music, and before long she started her extensive travels to the four corners of the country in a quest to unearth authentic local songs and music. These travels, covering more than thirty years, resulted in a unique collection which was the basis of the songs she recorded in new arrangements, as well as providing material for her later performances in concerts and festivals in Europe and America.

In the course of these journeys which took her to innumerable towns and villages, Sima Bina often came across traditional lullabies sung by mothers and grandmothers. She noticed that some folk songs in fact had originated from these lullabies. The variety and the charm of the lullabies gave her a new impetus to focus on this theme and to try to preserve these songs for posterity. This led to a project lasting nearly sixteen years during which, armed with a tape recorder, she travelled to many parts of Iran and had to learn many regional dialects and even languages.

The result was not just an ordinary book- as she believed that this subject had already been covered in several books- but also four CDs containing 40 lullabies sung as accurately as possible in local dialects. They are accompanied by music played by local musicians and authentic instruments. This exceptional collection, which has recently been released, also includes a booklet on the musical scales of the songs, with explanations both in Persian and English. Sima Bina’s abilities are not confined just to singing. As a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts and a talented painter, she has illustrated her book with delightful drawings of mother and child.

In this multimedia report, Sima Bina talks about her inspiration and her tireless dedication in completing this vast and exciting project.

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