Iranian Folk Musicians Visit The Bluegrass Museum

Bluegrass had international influences bound up in its genesis, but it developed as a uniquely American music form. As the genre has matured, it has grown to become a truly international musical style, with fans and practitioners of the music hailing from all parts of the globe. Recently, the International Bluegrass Music Museum (IBMM) had a hand in the continuing proliferation of bluegrass music, as the museum played host to a group of Iranian folk musicians who were interested in learning about the music.

The Iranian musicians travelled to Kentucky as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program sponsored by the State Department. In the following video, Matt Madden, the Program Manager for the Kentucky/Southern Indiana World Affairs Council, tells about the visit and how the IBMM, and bluegrass music, may serve to improved relations between cultures.
  • Gabrielle Gray

    Matt’s spot-on in his observations about the Iranian delegation’s visit to the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY. It was my favorite day at the museum (in close competition with the annual Pioneers of Bluegrass reunions which always leave my heart in my throat for days).

    I’d like to add to his report that there was a song sung simultaneously by our bluegrass musicians at the museum that day (King’s Highway), and the Iranian coalition (of INCREDIBLY talented musicians). The song was “The Old Oaken Bucket” which I’m sure many of you know. The interesting thing is that the Iranians have been singing this song, nearly note-for-note with our own Oaken Bucket, but as an Iranian folk song, for centuries. I looked around the museum while both groups were playing this song in unison, and there was not a dry eye to be found. Everyone knew they were witnessing an unforgettable coming-together of artists of like mind across boundaries set in place by those who seek to divide us. At the close of the visit, everyone in the Iranian delegation and everyone in the museum exchanged hugs and promises to not let governments keep us apart. The memories of that day sustain me every day of my life. They make everything worthwhile. Peace through music!