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AP PHOTOS: Underground music flourishes in Iran

In this picture taken on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, female Iranian back vocalist Azadeh Ettehad and violinist Nastaran Ghaffari, both members of a band called "Accolade," perform in an unauthorized stage performance in Tehran, Iran. Headphone-wearing disc jockeys mixing beats. It’s an underground music scene that is flourishing in Iran, despite government restrictions. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)In this picture taken on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, female Iranian back vocalist Azadeh Ettehad and violinist Nastaran Ghaffari, both members of a band called "Accolade," perform in an unauthorized stage performance in Tehran, Iran. Headphone-wearing disc jockeys mixing beats. It’s an underground music scene that is flourishing in Iran, despite government restrictions. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Heavy metal guitarists jamming in basements. Headphone-wearing disc jockeys mixing beats. There's an underground music scene flourishing in Iran, despite government restrictions.

In this picture taken on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, Iranian musicians Pedram, left, and Soheil, members of a band called "Rebeat," compose remixes of folk songs on their electronic mixing console in Tehran, Iran. Headphone-wearing disc jockeys mixing beats. It’s an underground music scene that is flourishing in Iran, despite government restrictions. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)In this picture taken on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, Iranian musicians Pedram, left, and Soheil, members of a band called "Rebeat," compose remixes of folk songs on their electronic mixing console in Tehran, Iran. Headphone-wearing disc jockeys mixing beats. It’s an underground music scene that is flourishing in Iran, despite government restrictions. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

It isn't necessarily a sign of rebellion against Iran's theocratic government, however. Musicians, including a woman violinist who performs underground, say they enjoy the freedom their off-the-record existence provides.

In this picture taken on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, female Iranian back vocalist Azadeh Ettehad, a member of a band called "Accolade," sings a song in an unauthorized stage performance in Tehran, Iran. Headphone-wearing disc jockeys mixing beats. It’s an underground music scene that is flourishing in Iran, despite government restrictions. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)In this picture taken on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, female Iranian back vocalist Azadeh Ettehad, a member of a band called "Accolade," sings a song in an unauthorized stage performance in Tehran, Iran. Headphone-wearing disc jockeys mixing beats. It’s an underground music scene that is flourishing in Iran, despite government restrictions. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Many musicians fled in the 1980s after Iran's Islamic Revolution. Today, though government minders have allowed some pop concerts to go on, musicians say all the hassles and restrictions make playing underground easier.

"Are we underground because we want to oppose the system? No," musician Danial Izadi said. "We wanted to do what we loved to do."

Here are some Associated Press photographs showing Iran's underground music scene.