Synopsis: ‘Oomadam’ is a visual and sonic representation of a post-modern identity that takes strong influence from Iranian roots culture. This music video brings together some of the Iranian sub-cultures that are at present very alive and active in London. The cast of the video comprise of Ajam’s friends, many of whom are members of the ‘Iran-e-Båstån’ Zurkhåneh (traditional Iranian gymnasium and martial arts) in London.
The video depicts an underground community of Iranians in London that congregate in a secluded location to watch their local wrestlers compete against one another. The values that are favoured by the crowd are chivalry and humbleness and the proceedings are overseen by an elder (played by well-known Naghål (narrator) and reciter of the Shåhnåmeh (epic tales of the Book of Kings), Oståd Ghåsem Karbalåyie) who adjudicates the bouts. The world famous ‘Tehran Taxi’, driven by it’s owner Massoud Nilli (playing the Coach of a wrestler in the second bout) makes a guest appearance in the video and presents yet another member of London’s diverse Iranian diaspora.
The music is an original composition by London based Iranian Roots Music band Ajam. The soundscape of Oomadamtakes strong influence from the music of North Khoråsån (in the north east of Iran) and as such the video includes a small element of ritualistic dance that is inspired by the tribal dances of the Kormanj people of North Khoråsån. The concept of wrestling taking centre stage in the video is in part a homage to Chukheh, the traditional wrestling tournaments of North Khoråsån, which usually incorporates a live musical group that play different melodies and rhythms to accompany various stages of the tournament.
The lyrics of the song (presented below) are a declaration of a heterogenous post-modern identity that influenced many of the elements of the video. The narrator proclaims that ‘I have arrived from that distant place’ referring not to a specific location but more to a state of mind or an alternative way of thinking. The poetic phrasings include references to classical Iranian literature and historical characters but are communicated in a generally colloquial tone.
The ‘Oomadam’ music video is produced by Aparat Media, under the production management of Mehdi Mirtaleb, and has been directed by Ajam, with key direction and storyboard by Amin Fouladi (Amin Ajami). The video has by and large been made possible through the comradery and generosity of Ajam’s friends and family and is a testament to the genuine social unity that is still generated by traditional establishments such as the Zurkhåneh.