After Farhad and Fereydoun Foroughi left the Persian folk-rock scene in early 2000s, folk-rock fans in Iran knew there would not be a considerable effort in this field for years. In fact, the Persian folk-rock scene had been inactive for couple of decades even before the demise of Farhad and Foroughi. The most recent example was Barf by Farhad in 2000 while other efforts (if any) were only re-releases of previous records. Things get even worse when one considers the number of musicians (professionals and/or those who belong to the underground music scene of Iran) who have turned up in recent years absolutely in popular styles (middle eastern pop, pop-rock, dance, rap, etc), leaving almost no hope for having an influential or popular folk-rock release.
In 2005, there were couple of songs being broadcast by radio stations in Iran with vocals bearing a strong resemblance to the Faramarz Aslani's and the intimacy of the classic folk-rock song "Koodakaneh" by Farhad. The songs sounded familiar to middle-age fans who had experienced the "glamorous" years of Persian folk-rock in the '60s and '70s.
Soheil Nafissi was born in 1968 in Bandar Abbas, a seaport in southern Iran which had a major influence on his musical maturation. As Nafissi himself states, the impact was due to the fact that Bandar Abbas "was very multicultural." In Bandar Abbas, he met the poet and songwriter Ebrahim Monsefi. Monsefi was as an instructor to Nafissi who, like most Iranian singers/songwriters, was a self-educated musician. In 2005, after waiting for three years for being approved by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Nafissi released his debut album, Rira. Rira is based on Persian contemporary poems of Mahdi Akhavan Saless, Ahmad Shamlu, Nima Youshij, Nasser Zamani, Manouchehr Atashi, and Ebrahim Monsefi. Although writing songs based on these classic Persian poems may not be well-perceived, Nafissi's voice and softly strummed guitar throughout make Rira a thoroughly successful outing for him. One of the standouts is "Oh! Humans" with lyrics by Nima Youshij; it is reminiscent of Archive's atmospheric song "Again." Besides the folk-rock nature of Nafissi's music, one can also hear elements of Persian folk, for instance in "Fairies" (based on a poem with the same name from Ahmad Shamlu). Since 2007 he has been waiting to release his second album, which features more instruments than were used in Rira. It has yet to be approved by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in a process which is really time-consuming.