Even as world headlines from the Middle East focus on upheaval and violence, the region's culture continues to thrive. Here's our look at some groups and individuals making their mark on arts and culture in the region, in no particular order.
Bahram Nouraei is among a group of young Iranians who have turned to rap to express themselves. He's been spitting weighty lyrics for the past decade, even addressing President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in his track “Namei be Raees Jomhoor” (A letter to the president). The rapper's outspokenness landed him a stint in jail, but won him a large following. Last year, he released his latest album, “Sokoot” (Silence).