Raw Music International

Raw Music International is a documentary series about underground music around the world.  We travel the world and tell overlooked social, economic, and cultural stories through music.  

Currently, we're sharing our videos through NBCNews.com. So far we've hit Kenya, Turkey, Iraq, Ukraine, Burma, Trinidad, and Mongolia.


Cyrus Moussavi - host, producer

I had the idea for Raw Music while working in Kenya. I spent most of my time with the rastas by the lake and realized music is the way to tell a story. 

I grew up in Iowa, spent much time in Iran visiting family, studied economics and philosophy at Columbia University, and spent a consciousness-expanding year in Amsterdam on a Fulbright grant. Most recently I was a VJ at NowThis. Somehow, this all ties back to the things I love most – finding new music and talking to people. I spend all my money on books I’ll never read and live out of a backpack. Videos, Raw Music and otherwise, have been published through NBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, Washington Post, and others.

jacob russell - Cinematographer, Creative Partner

Jacob and I met in a Chinese restaurant in Iraq, and we've been working together since.  We shot Ukraine, Kurdistan, Burma, and Mongolia together. 

UK born, Beirut based, Jacob's photo and video work has appeared in The Guardian, The Times of London, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, USA Today and many others. He's a thoughtful guy with an eye and a way with words and is usually the one to keep our projects in check when they spiral out of control. Here's his site.


Collaborators Past and Present



Barry is a Chicago artist and poet. He serves as the Raw Music spirit guide, business guru, and unceasing fount of twisted inspiration.  His work can be found at www.barrylorberbaum.com

D Gainz - Trinidad

D is a Chicago producer, musician, and music video director most famous for his work with Chief Keef (That Shit I Don't LIIIK) and his own innovative production. He came and shot the Trinidad episode after we met in Chicago.

clara van miert - ukraine

Clara is an old friend from the Amsterdam days. She traveled to Ukraine to help with logistics, translation, and the massive cultural chasms that open when you drop a smiley American in war-fever Ukraine.


ozzy dan - kenya

Ozzy is a human of incredible talents -- dancer, singer, director, actor. He kept me alive in Kenya and taught me the ropes. He's out there somewhere, roaming and making dollars.

angela shoemaker - kenya

Angela is another friend from Amsterdam. An established international photographer, she was the first person crazy enough to agree to go on one of these trips with me. Here is her site: http://www.angelashoemaker.com/