Persian Arts Festival in New York: 10th Anniversary Celebration Past

Friday, March 18, 2016 ,
8:30 PM
- Brooklyn, NY, United States

The Persian Arts Festival celebrates 10 years of showcasing the work of hundreds of Persian artists from around the world at the prestigious new Brooklyn venue, National Sawdust. The 10th Annual Persian Arts Festival will feature multiple art forms including short films by Iranian Americans, performances by established poets, hosted and curated by Zahra Saed and Sara Goudarzi, the NYC premier of vocalist and daft player, Aida Shahghasemi, who fuses her exquisite Persian classical vocal training with indie-rock tendencies, and Mitra Sumara, a big-band of NYC-based musicians dedicated to Pop/funk music from Pre-Revolutionary Iran. Space is limited, so we ask that you purchase tickets in advance:

MUSIC PERFORMANCE by Aida Shahghasemi

Aida, initially a Daf player, studied with Amir Samadi in Tehran, Iran. She moved from Tehran to Minneapolis in summer of 2000. One unsuspecting summer day back in Tehran, she was pushed to sing on stage by Samadi, and she fell in love with it ever since. Her passion for Persian classical music stems from the cultural identity she craved after immigrating, and the women she met during her years of study. Her senior project at University of Minnesota's Anthropology department centered around restrictions on the voices of female classical vocalists in Iran, through which she met, interviewed, and studied with Parissa for a short period of 3 months. While residing in NYC, Aida worked with a few non-profit organizations as a teaching artist promoting the arts as a tool for social justice. She created and taught a class called Iran's Arts Activism centered around the effects of society on art and vise versa, at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.


Mitra Sumara is New York City’s only Farsi Funk group. This international party band gets down with the vibrant pop and funk music of 60s/70s Iran, an infectious pre-Revolutionary sound which combined the beats of Fela Kuti, salsa, and disco with Middle Eastern melodies and flowery poetry.

Interpreting hits by Iran’s beloved singers Googoosh, Pooran, Aghassi, Leila Forouhar, Nooshafarin, and Zia Atabi’s intoxicating Bandari beat tunes, Mitra Sumara’s repertoire also includes American hits of the era translated into Farsi. East meets West meets East while delighted audiences sing along.

Mitra Sumara’s musicians are among New York City’s top players in the avant-garde, jazz, indie-rock, and Broadway scenes. They include Yvette Perez (vocals), Julian Maile (guitar), Sam Kulik (bass), Michael Evans (drums/congas), Brian Geltner (drums/percussion), Bill Ruyle (hammer dulcimer), Jim Duffy (keyboard), and Peter Zummo (trombone).

Mitra Sumara is the creation of Brooklyn-based half-Iranian lead singer Yvette Perez. Adopted and raised by American parents, Yvette founded the group after studying Farsi and re-uniting with her Iranian birth father just four years ago. This cross-cultural music project is inspired by her family story.

Mitra Sumara has played the John F. Kennedy Center Millenium Stage as well as New York City venues including Le Poisson Rouge, Brooklyn Bowl, WestBeth, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center and Café Nadery, and the Tropicalia Club in Washington, DC.

POETRY - Shab’e She’r

Hosted by Afghani-American poet, Zohra Saed, and curated by Zohra and Sara Goudarzi, this segment of the program will feature poets, authors, scholars, and other members of the Iranian American community to celebrate their shared literary heritage. Historically, the long-standing tradition of Shab’e She’r is a place where poets, young and old, read their own work, in Persian and in English; others would recite, and sometimes sing, poems by Rumi, Sa'di, Hafez and more; issues were discussed and debated. Hear established and emerging poets read pieces in Persian or English.


Select, award winning short films featuring Iranian arts, crafts, cuisine, culture, geography, and history will be presented.


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