An evening of traditional and original Persian Music with
MAHSA VAHDAT and ATABAK ELYASI
“The Iran born singer Mahsa Vahdat has one of the most beautiful voices in the universe. So intense, so mystic, so passionate, it can express the deepest longing, sorrow and pain that exists.” – LIRA Magazine
Mahsa Vahdat was trained in classical Persian singing and regional folk music by master musicians in Iran. After the Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, public female singing was banned. To this day, female singers can only perform for authorized women-only audiences or alongside a male voice, and can never perform solo in public. She and her husband, internationally renowned composer, instrumentalist and music educator Atabak Elyasi now live in the US.
Mahsa’s repertoire is inspired by regional and traditional music from Iran infused with her unique and resilient artistic sensibility. Her song lyrics are mostly mystical and love poems by great Persian poets like Hafez, Rumi and Saadi, who lived several centuries ago, as well as works of contemporary Iranian poetry speaking about Iranian society.
Recording on the highly regarded Norwegian world music label, Kirkelig Kulturverksted, her recent solo album, The Sun Also Rises has received rave reviews worldwide: “Mahsa Vahdat has masterfully proven how it’s possible for Persian music to continue evolving.” –Neil van der Linden, SONGLINES Magazine
An active campaigner for human rights, Mahsa is an award-winning ambassador of Freemuse, an independent international organization advocating freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide. She has attracted considerable attention with her work on the record Lullabies from the Axis of Evil, and her collaboration with soul singer Mighty Sam McClain, A Deeper Tone of Longing (Love Duets Across civilizations).
She was guest soloist with the Women’s choir, Kitka in one of the highlights of our concert season last year.
“…hauntingly graceful, achingly poignant vocals” – World Music Central
This performance is part of our Immigrant Voices series, featuring music from recent immigrants to the US.
Also part of the series:
March 24 – DIANA GAMEROS, plus Megan Keely
SF Live Arts presents our Immigrant Voices series with
“You build a wall – we make a bridge. You ban an immigrant – we make a flower bouquet, a song and welcome all humans in.” –Diana Gameros
“Her voice haunted me.” Felix Contreras, NPR
Originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, singer, guitarist and composer Diana Gameros creates authentic, inspiring music that reflects the 21st century experiences of an indie artist at the borderlands between cultures, languages, and genres. Now living In the Bay Area, Diana has played with many local favorites, including the Oakland East Bay Symphony and has opened concerts for Bebel Gilberto, Latin Grammy winners La Santa Cecilia and many others. She recently performed for four nights at the SF Jazz Festival and was featured in both SF Chronicle Datebook and KQED Arts’ “Women to Watch” articles. In 2013 Diana released her first album Eterno Retorno, a soulful retrospective of her journey as an immigrant. The following year, she received the Emerging Leader Award from the Chicana/Latina Foundation for her work in music and her support to social justice movements. Part of tonight’s concert will celebrate Arrullo, (a new album of traditional Mexican songs that she arranged and directed) that pays homage to her heritage and homeland. Recorded at the renowned Women’s Audio Mission Studio, it received honorable mention from NPR’s Top Latin Albums Of the Year in 2017. As their review stated: “She combines deeply reflective songs about longing that speak to the immigrant experience, no matter where home is.” She will be accompanied by Patrick Wolff (tenor sax/clarinet). http://dianagameros.com/
Megan Keely was born and raised in the hills south of San Francisco, CA.
With three albums released and a fourth on the way, Megan’s body of work is simultaneously soothing and empowering.
Define American is the first single off Megan Keely’s forthcoming album, Bloom. With the launch of the music video, the song was picked up by Jose Antonio Vargas’s nation-wide non profit to help deepen conversations around immigration and cultural change.
She is breaking new ground with songs celebrating life and strength. Her songwriting first caught the attention of producer T Bone Burnett, who selected Megan’s song, Rules (co-written with her brother Brandon) for inclusion on The Hunger Games Soundtrack Companion Album. “Megan Keely is a stunning young woman with a voice that will break your heart and heal it all in one sitting.” – Annie Bacon –The Folk Opera For this performance, she will be accompanied by Steve Wyreman on guitar.