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Yalda: A Festival of Light
December 21, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm PST$10 – $15
Join us for an evening celebrating Yalda (winter solstice), the longest night of the year.
Shab-e Yalda (Yalda Night) is the Persian Winter Solstice Celebration on the eve of the Winter Solstice. The Persians believed that this night is the night of the birth of Ahura Mazda and Mithra, Persian God of Light and Truth.
The longest and darkest night of the year is a time when friends and family gather together to eat, drink and read poetry (especially Hafez) and Shahnameh until well after midnight. Fruits and nuts are eaten and pomegranates and watermelons are particularly significant. The red color in these fruits symbolizes the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life. The poems of Divan-e Hafez, which can be found in the bookcases of most Iranian families, are read or recited on various occasions such as this festival and Nowruz. Shab-e Yalda was officially added to Iran’s List of National Treasures in a special ceremony in 2008. Yalda is observed in Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, by Iraqi Kurdistan, and in Turkey by Kurds and Azeris.
Presented by Eastern Arts and the Simorgh Dance Collective, this second annual online gathering will be accompanied by traditional music, dance, poetry reading, presentations, quizzes, stories, and more!
All are welcome. Please register in advance to obtain a link to the online presentation.
Please consider making a donation at http://donate.farimadance.com to support our artists below
Simorgh Dance Collective
Farima BerenjiFarima Berenji is an award winning, internationally acclaimed performing artist, instructor, choreographer, and dance ethnologist. A master instructor and performer in Persian and Sufi dance, she specializes in ancient, sacred, classical, and folkloric dances of Persia and Central Asia. She is honored to be the first Iranian woman to direct a Persian dance company to perform during receptions for President Obama and President Biden. Farima is the founder and artistic director of the Simorgh Dance Collective, founder of Dance of the Soul, she is the advisory council member of Mosaic America, a member of the International Dance Council (CID-UNESCO), Eastern Arts, National Folk Organization, and the first Iranian-American woman TEDx lecturer and performer in the field of dance. Recognized as one of the few world scholarly experts of ancient and mystical dance ethnology, she travels worldwide to record, research, lecture, perform, educate, and to inspire dynamic creativity and rejuvenation through dance and movement. Read more..
Seyed Salman HosseiniSeyed Salman Hosseini possesses a bachelor degree in music ethnology and is an Iranian traditional music researcher, composer and a master musician of tambour, setar, tar, and rebab. He directs the traditional Persian music ensemble Cherikeh which has been performing sacred and traditional music for many years. Seyed has produced many albums including Javdanegni and Tabeh Ghaleh. He is the music director and composer for films such as Song of God and Gadam Yar. Seyed has composed and performed more than 40 concerts and TV programs including composing music for national broadcasts of Iran. He has performed professionally in Iran, Germany, Syria, and the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Additionally, he is a Sufi master and has his own school of music and mysticism.
Nariman AssadiNariman Assadi was born in Hamedan, Iran on January 1, 1992. Raised in Tehran, he always felt drawn to percussion instruments. At the age of thirteen, he began studying tombak under Master Amir Mogharab Samadi. From 2008 to 2013, Nariman performed at Vahdat Hall as a soloist and with the Persian Percussion Ensemble at Pars Academy, the premier music academy for children. After mastering tombak, he then began learning Daf under the great Master Bijan Kamkar. With a strong understanding of the daf and tombak, Nariman started learning barbat (Oud) under Master Mohammad Firouzi.
In 2015, Nariman immigrated to the United States. He immediately began his professional music career by performing and attending festivals. In 2017, he started learning percussion performance and world music with Professor Daniel Kennedy at Sacramento State University. Along with being a member of various ensembles, Nariman teaches daf, tombak, other percussions, and music for children in Davis, Sacramento, and the Bay Area. He also offers music classes and workshops online. Read more..
Dr. Lloyd MillerDr. Lloyd Miller received his PhD in Persian Language and Literature from the University of Utah after spending seven years living in Iran where he had a weekly prime time television program titled “Kurosh Ali Khan va dastan”. His program featured musicians and other artists from around the world. Lloyd was urged to leave Iran during the revolution in the late 70s, though he had never planned to leave. An expert in world music including American jazz, Lloyd has made numerous recordings. The most popular being “Oriental Jazz” first released in 1968 and recently re-released by Vinyl Me Please selling thousands of copies worldwide. A film about Lloyd’s extraordinary life, including 6 years in Europe as a jazzman and university student where he played with some of the most well-known musicians of the time, was released in 2019 as Sufi, Saint & Swinger. It was in Paris that Lloyd met Dr. Daryush Safvat who became his lifelong mentor and who taught Lloyd the importance and significance of Persian classical music. Founder of Eastern Arts, with the blessing of Dr. Safvat, Lloyd has taught music, philosophy, history, dance and culture to thousands of students at various universities for over 40 years. Read more…
Katherine St. JohnKatherine St. John received a Master’s degree in dance pedagogy from Brigham Young University and a Master’s in Persian from the University of Utah and completed coursework for a PhD in dance history and theory from the University of California. Katherine has performed and choreographed for theater, dance companies, operas and at universities for 30 plus years. She was an artist in residence teaching world dance to students throughout Utah and neighboring states for 20 years. Her Master’s thesis is about dance in Herat Afghanistan from 1970-1980 during Russian interference. Read more..