SHIRAZ INTL ARTS FESTIVAL '69: Documentary "Sound the Trumpets Beat the Drums" (1969)


SHIRAZ INTL ARTS FESTIVAL '69: Documentary "Sound the Trumpets Beat the Drums" (1969)
by Darius Kadivar

The late 60s saw globetrotting film-maker Tony Williams chronicles an east meets west festival held in the Iranian city of Shiraz. The film caught the attention of the director James Ivory (later of Merchant Ivory fame).

Watch Video Here


The late60s saw globetrotting film-maker Tony Williams soaking up cinematic experiencesin LA, London and France, plus shooting and editing two films for Iraniandirector Mahmoud Khosrowshahi. In the second film, Williams chronicles an eastmeets west festival held in the Iranian city of Shiraz. Williams proves aperfect collaborator; his love affair with music and montage helps lend paceand life to a film whose sonic interests range across cultures, from Iranianlutes and Indian oboes to Cathy Berberian, who is busy turning comic-stripsinto song.

On Making « Sound the Trumpets Beat the Drums » byDirector Producer Tony Williams

My Iranian Mahmoud Khosrowshahi (or ‘K’ for short) approached the BBC tomake a film with me in Iran. The Shah had designed a music festival to bringeast and west together. The BBC supplied a sound recordist, I would shoot andedit the film. My wife Lynn acted as my clapper loader.

The four of us travelled to Tehran where we were welcomed by K’s wealthyfamily with a sumptuous dinner party including many embassy representatives. Westayed with the head of television and travelled to the palace to interview thebeautiful Empress Farah.

A few years later, the Shah and Empress Farah were forced to flee Iran, andwe believe that the head of television was executed by firing squad by theAyatollah’s regime. Back in London while editing the film, a young James Ivory(later of Merchant Ivory fame) heard me transferring Bismillah Khan’s music andcame into the cutting room to ask if he could possibly have a copy. I was happyto oblige.

In 2005, we made contact with Empress Farah - now living in New York - and sent her a copy of the film, which she was delighted to receive.


more from Darius Kadivar
Darius Kadivar

FYI/Kronos Quartet Premieres Iranian Composer's 'Threnody'

by Darius Kadivar on

Sargord Pirouz

lol w/Nader

by Sargord Pirouz on

Yeah but I don't think that was Fleetwood Mac. Maybe Paul Oakenfold? 

Nader Vanaki

DK باز هم گل گفتی

Nader Vanaki

Further to your points the whole Iranian film industry today is eternally indebted to Farrah Pahlavi, since she supported places like Kanoon where likes of Kiarostami were raised.  And indeed this festival was the first of its kind, just listen to the two critics being interviewed, it was their first time they were exposed to anything from the east.  Excellent work.

Sargord Pirouz

How in the world can Kiosk

by Sargord Pirouz on

How in the world can Kiosk or these other Western wannabe acts be considered experimental?

You know, at least the Germans in the 60s and 70s rejected trying to copy-cat American and British rock and roll and produced a true German sound that was truly experimental:


Iranians copy-catting rap, heavy metal or alternative genres are simply clown acts.

A better example of a Persian sound that approaches the realm of experimentation is this:

Darius Kadivar

Namjoo, Kiosk, Abjeez are Offsprings of Shiraz's Experimentation

by Darius Kadivar on

To think many people criticized the Festival at the time because it was Avant Garde. Yet today all these Iranian music groups we see today from Namjoo, Kiosk to Abjeez or experimental Persian Jazz with Rana Farhan we see today are actually the direct Offsprings of this experimentation which started 40 years ago and to general critical and popular Success !

Meditate ... ;0)

As a matter of Fact "American" Arts represented maybe not even 10  % of what was being exhibited at this international festival. Many Artists, musicians, stage directors came from Asia be it India, or Japan or South Korea and others from European countries ranging from Greece, France, Italy or Great Britain.

As one of the people interviewed in this video quite rightly mentioned some "Asian" perfomances like from Japan looked far more "exotic" if not "alien" to Iranian culture than Western Pop Art.

Not surprising that someone like Kiarostami who worked at the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children : Kanoon Institute, was exposed to Kurusawa films thanks to the Film festivals and other Asian Exhibits displayed in Iran, at the time. 

It's no wonder that today countries ranging from Jordan to Dubai or Morocco have imitated what the Pahlavi's were the FIRST to initiate in the Middle East and that is an encounter however strange between East and West in the field of the Arts. 


Related Blog:

Even someone like Satrapi herself is in many ways a product of this Melting pot artistic experiment. The women in the clip who quotes from the Comic Book Pop Culture in her live performance: "It's a Bird, It's Plane, No it's Superman" was actually playing out a scene from a Comic Book:


Marjane Satrapi : "Art is Not Democratic" (Avignon Forum - 2009)


Other Related Blogs:


Empress of the Arts By Darius KADIVAR




Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art By Robert Tait ( The Guardian)



Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime

Clarification on, ""We" means not "you"!"

by Everybody Loves Somebody ... on

We = Everyone including the women under chador and other ordinary folks.

You = Commies, Mojaheds,  Akhoonds, and the rest of the bomb throwers who would resort to terrorism to prove that they were rebels without a cause!

Darius Kadivar

"We" means not "you"! ...

by Darius Kadivar on

How about suggesting YOUR "IRANIAN" style Revolution as a Solution to Morocco's Ills ? ...

Urban Slums in Morocco:

(Double Click to Watch)


Kiarostami Opens Ninth International Film Festival of Marrakech, Morroco:

(Double Click to watch)


Elton John's Concert in Morroco triggers debate on his homosexuality: (Double Click to Watch)


I would be VERY CURIOUS to see if YOUR "Republican" aka "Jomhurykhah" Outcome would put Morocco on a Better Path than What we Masochistically Inflicted to ourselves 30 years ago ...


اشتوکهاوزن نگو، بلا بگو



من الکی‌ قربون صدقه کسی‌ نمیرم. از صبح تا حالا داشتم می‌‌کوبیدم
روی این این کلّه پوکم که اسم این گردن شکسته رو به یاد بیارم. قربان

Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.


Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime

"You" meant "we", bait & switch! 10 years later though!

by Everybody Loves Somebody ... on

That was Khomeini's promise in 1979 that "you" would receive free gas, free electricity, free water, and free every other services they could render. Less than 2 years later, "you" would discover that "they" meant all those free things for "themselves" NOT "you"!? The only free thing "you" would receive would be a long and nasty object in "you" know what.....!? There goes the social justice "you" were long searching for, my dear commie friends! Nosh'e Jan!?

Farah Rusta

Call me "ommol" but ...

by Farah Rusta on

Karlheinz Stockhausen is without doubt one of the most pioneering musicians of the 20th century. I had the opportunity of watching him play his music in Shiraz Festival some 40 years ago somewhere near Bazaar-e Vakil. Well I must admit that I didn't quite grasp the heart of his music but it was an interesting experience nonetheless. The more fascinating side his performance were the audience.  All the local people had gathered around to watch his concert. Women in their traditional veil were particularly noticeable from the rooftops, a point that was not lost to the TV crew who were filming the event courtsey of  Mr Ghotbi, the Empress's cousin.

I always wondered if the choice of venue for Stockhausen's performance was a wise choice. I somehow felt that the Bazaari folk would have preferred to see Shajarian sing for them than Stockhausen play. If you listen to his music (the one that was played in Vakil) you see what I mean.



Hoshang Targol

"if she only knew that, that was the problem."

by Hoshang Targol on

If that was only half the problem!

But before anything many thanks to Dk for posting this marvelous time capsule, damet garm.

The other half of the problem was how: so many neighborhoods in Iran lacked running water and most basic services ( even in Tehran, the capital city) yet so much money was spent on renovation of the city of Venice, Jashne Honar Shiraz, ...

What I found most interesting was the sureal juxtaposition of the local people: women in chador listening to Opera ( probably for the first and last time)....

And what an international  mish mash: Harpists from USSR and arrogant gringa, Ms. Berberian giving her two cents and what not.

Even Bahram Sadeghi in his best stories couldn't come up with anything like this, cheers


""We" means not "you"!"

by Mehrban on

If she only knew that "that" was the problem.

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

without leaving any comment on the disparity of hosts (LOCAL SHIRAZI)ways of living condition and the guests enjoying a glamourose vacation there.........

nevertheless the efforts of Mr. kadivar are PRICELESS .

P.s nice musics from Mr Behari & bismila khan.       Maziar

Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime

"We" means not "you"!

by Everybody Loves Somebody ... on

Thank you DK for posting this beautiful clip!


Of fests and fists

by comrade on

The opening scene with the performance of the late Ostaad Bahari is priceless. 

The Empress Regent kept saying "we developed", "we decided" without giving any definition of the word "we". We-who?

Never mind. "We" all learnt our vocabulary later on.   

Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.