Culturally, the Western world sees Iran as cloaked in black robes and turbans, a nation repressed by conservative mullahs and ideologically pristine.
Behind the image is a stark reality — more than 65 percent of the nation's population is 25 years old or younger, and there is a youth culture eager to break free.
Filmmakers Amir Hamz and Mark Lazarz capture that restless spirit in a new documentary titled Sounds of Silence. The film profiles a generation of artists who are creating and distributing new music behind the back of the Islamic republic.
Hear full-length music cuts from groups featured in the documentary:
'Baxet Kojan' by Hich-Kas
Unlike the traditional music approved by religious censors, these musicians choose to rock — and even rap — all the while, dodging the authorities.
And the music they create finds unlikely inspiration from the Koran and revered mystical poets and philosophers from Persia's golden age.