Dingomaro: Iran’s Black South
In 2013, Heidari directed another documentary, also on the life of an eccentric and touching person with a dream: Hamid Saeed, one of the best-known Iranian musicians with African roots. Heidari follows Saeed, who travels by motorbike across the region of Hormozgan, in the south of Iran, to pursue his dream of bringing the best black musicians together at a grand concert.
The destination is perfect: Hormozgan is known to be home to many African descendants, as this was the province where merchants and slaves coming to Iran used to land. While locals are now mostly Shia Muslims, they still take part in voodoo rituals and dance to African rhythms. To make his dream come true, Saeed needs to challenge stereotypes, confront his wife’s resistance, and overcome geographical, religious, and cultural constraints, all the while struggling to meet his own needs.
In a very subtle and sensitive way, Heidari manages to explore migration and identity issues in Iran, while Saeed transports us into his world through his music. By incorporating African rhythms into the music that he plays, he succeeds in preserving his heritage that he then shares with others. But, at the same time, cultures are dynamic: by mixing African and Iranian beats, he is recreating traditions and moulding them into a new form of hybrid identity.