Iranian Festival returns to bring taste of Persia

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Edinburgh’s third biannual Iranian Festival gets under way tomorrow, with a host of events taking place throughout the city over the next two weeks.

The festival, which was first launched in 2009 by students from Edinburgh University’s Persian Society, will see comedians, cooks and musicians show off their skills.

Organiser Sara Kheradmand, 33, said the festival was growing stronger each time it was held.

She said: “It just started off as a bit of fun and has now grown into this huge event. This is a festival where everyone, from any background is welcome, especially as Edinburgh has a relatively small Iranian population compared to other British cities. There’s so much happening, and many of the events are free, so we’re sure there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets.”

Dr Bouda Vosough Ahmadi, a research economist at Scotland’s Rural College, will be taking part in free workshops at the National Museum of Scotland, teaching enthusiasts how to play the santour, a traditional Iranian instrument.

He said: “I’ll also be joined by two friends who play the tonbak, a goblet drum, and the daf, a frame drum. We’re just looking to teach people some basics and the main idea is to have fun, so I’d encourage anyone to come and give it a go.”

Irish-Iranian funnyman Patrick Monahan will host a comedy night and a evening of music at The Traverse Theatre.

He said: “I come up every time because it is such an amazing experience. To see so many wonderful artists, musicians, painters, poets and film-makers who have all grown up with a Persian family, fusing this with a Scottish twist – it’s so beautiful and so much fun.

“Also, there’s always great food so I make sure I turn up with a massive doggy bag.”

A series of Iranian films will also be shown at the Filmhouse.

A spokesman for the cinema said: “This retrospective presents a broad variety of styles and genres. The Iranian strand opens with the gentle and beautifully photographed and scripted comedy A Cube of Sugar and ranges in tone from the deeply affecting melodrama of Kissing the Moon-Like Face to the dark anarchic comedy of Modest Reception.”