Helly Luv
       
     
Iraqi Kurdistan
       
     
Friday Market
       
     
Iraj
       
     
Bazaar
       
     
Oud
       
     
Kalar
       
     
The watchmaker
       
     
Helly Luv
       
     
Shamal
       
     
The man
       
     
Helly Luv
       
     
Helly Luv

Helly Luv grew up a refugee in Finland before returning to Iraqi Kurdistan, releasing a controversial pop banger, and becoming the biggest star in a place she's never lived.  We followed her in the run-up to her first major concert. 

Photo: Jacob Russell

Iraqi Kurdistan
       
     
Iraqi Kurdistan

Shot December 2013 - February 2014, our Iraqi Kurdistan episode was about a region changing fast.  What happens to culture and music when 3 decades of dictatorship are followed by 1 decade of oil money? 

Photo: Cyrus Moussavi

Friday Market
       
     
Friday Market

Syrian Kurds, escaping the war, occupy the lowest levels of the new Iraqi Kurdish society. 

Photo: Cyrus Moussavi

Iraj
       
     
Iraj

Iraj was the star of our episode -- an economic migrant from Iran, he sang with a glorious voice and struggled to get by as the Kurdish economy boomed around him. 

Photo: Jacob Russell

Bazaar
       
     
Bazaar

We shot most of the episode in Sualymaniah's bazaar, and were once detained by undercover security forces for doing so. 

Photo: Cyrus Moussavi

Oud
       
     
Oud

A school dedicated to preserving traditional music. Now that survival isn't the chief concern, the Kurds are focusing on rebuilding a culture smothered by decades of dictatorship. Sulaymaniah, Iraq. 

Kalar
       
     
Kalar

A dusty town on the border of Iraqi Kurdistan and the Arab controlled parts of Iraq.

Photo: Cyrus Moussavi

The watchmaker
       
     
The watchmaker

Sulaymaniah Bazaar. 

Photo: Cyrus Moussavi

Helly Luv
       
     
Helly Luv

At the 5-star Divan Hotel, Erbil, Iraq, the day after her debut concert. 

Photo: Jacob Russell

Shamal
       
     
Shamal

Graciously guided me through a rebel controlled town on the border of Iraq and Iran. Then he friended my sister on facebook. 

Photo: Cyrus Moussavi

The man
       
     
The man

An old Kaka'i poet. He protected a small house dedicated to the ancient Persian religion near the town of Halabja, where Sadaam gassed thousands of civilians in 1988. 

Photo: Cyrus Moussavi