Folk music (known as “regional music” in Iran) has probably existed as long as people have lived on the Iranian plateau. It has resisted formalization and, until recent times, its lyrics were preserved by the word of mouth and collective memories. Folk musicians were generally amateurs within rural areas. There are many distinct traditions and styles of folk music practiced throughout the country and its diverse regions. Some of these styles and methods are specific to an individual region or a distinct ethnicity. Kurdish, Turkish, Baluchi, Qashqâi, Gilâni, and Bandari music are some of the regionally specific music. Another example of locally established and recognized musicians are the Bakhshis in Khorâsân. ( Bakhshis are also found in neighboring countries of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan). The word means instrumentalist, singer, and storyteller. However, Iranian Bakhshis believe that it is derived from the word bakhshandeh , meaning a donor or a generous person. Bakhshis usually perform in village ceremonies and weddings. They play the dutâr, narrate stories ( dâstâns ), and sing variously in Persian, Turkish, or Kurdish. Depending upon its needs, folk music calls for the use of one or more of the above-mentioned instruments. Instruments used are sometimes made by the musicians who play them. Some lyrics are reflective of historical tragedies. For instance, in Mâzandarân, there is a vocal known as “ sut. ” Sut recants the pain of harms and destruction imposed on the community by the rebels and outlaws of the late nineteenth century. Some other lyrics are so specific that they are only relevant to specific rituals, such as child rearing, harvest collection, birth and marital ceremonies, and even burial traditions. The merry ones are generally accompanied with folk dances and the sad ones often reflect hardships and sufferings experienced by people or communities. This kind of music remains vibrant and adaptable, allowing its various forms to be reinvented within popular culture and manifested in modern media. It has also gained the attention of ethnomusicologists and educational institutions. The latter have become actively involved in preservation and collection of unrecorded lyrics in remote areas. In the past half a century, folk music has become professionalized and performers are trained and specialized in distinct folk traditions. Several modern folk singers have acquired international recognition. Two such singers who have performed in many European and American concert halls are Pari Zangeneh and Simâ Binâ. Hâj Qorbâni from Khorâsân and Morâdi from Lorestân are two male singers who have also represented the music of their respective regions to Western audiences.