Islamic Art Exhibit Opening Gala | Performance at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Islamic Art Exhibit Opening Gala | Performance at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

The Azure Dome (Gonbad-e Kabood)
Contemporary Mystical Persian Dance and Music
Featuring Banafsheh Sayyad, Pejman Hadadi, Kourosh Moradi and Mahdi Bagheri

Master Persian sacred dancer Banafsheh Sayyad joins the virtuoso musicians Pejman Hadadi, Kourosh Moradi and Mahdi Bagheri in an evening of timeless passionate and peaceful dance set to hypnotic, momentous music and Rumi’s evocative poetry. Otherworldly yet fully grounded in the present moment, this is an ecstatic celebration of ALIVENESS — a journey inward, into the mystery of life and living passionately from the Heart.

As an audience member you can expect to get a transformative boost of uplifting energy and peaceful grounding! The artists present this evening as a healing for Houston and the regions devastated by the recent hurricanes.

Pejman Hadadi – Composition, Tombak, Daf and various percussion
Considered one of the most innovative Iranian percussionists, Pejman is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Durfee Foundation Master Musician Award. The pioneer of some of the most original sounds on the Tombak, he has performed worldwide. Pejman has been a member of the celebrated DASTAN Ensemble for more than ten years and one of the founding members of the highly acclaimed ZARBANG. He began collaborating with Banafsheh since 1999. He has performed and recorded with many prominent world music and Persian artists including Hossein Alizadeh, Shahram Nazeri, Homayoun Shajarian, Parissa, Kayhon Kalhor, Shujaat Khan, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Hossein Omoumi, Rajeeb Chakraborti, Sima Bina, Salar Aghili, Ali Akbar Moradi and Ardeshir Kamkar among others. He has more than 30 recordings to his name. Pejman is based in Los Angeles.

Kourosh Moradi – Tanbur and Daf
Kourosh Moradi was born in Kermanshah/Iran. He is the second son of the great master of Tanbour Aliakbar Moradi. He started studying Tanbour at early age with his father. In addition to Tanbour, Kourosh has studied Daf with masters of the Yarsan order and Tombak with Master Hamid Moghadam while growing up in Kurdistan. Coming from a musical family, Kourosh has recorded and performed around the world continuing the family legacy of Tanbour with many esteemed masters of Kurdish/Iranian music. He has become an ambassador of music in the United States as he now lives and teaches in Southern California. Continuing the family legacy and the deep-rooted history of this ancient music and sharing it with new audiences from around the world. He continues to perform in conjunction with his father and continue the family legacy of sharing the music with audiences around the world.

Mehdi Bagheri – Kamancheh
Born 1980, Mehdi Bagheri has fast become one of the most renowned practitioners of the Persian Kamancheh of his generation. A composer and multi-instrumentalist born in Kermanshah, Iran, Mehdi received his master’s degree from the Arak University in 2004, studying with luminaries of traditional Iranian music including Maestros Kayhan Kalhor & Ardeshir Kamkar, while simultaneously pursuing a degree in Dramatic Theater. As a world music artist he has performed worldwide at festivals such as the Oslo World Music Festival (Oslo, Norway) and Morgenland Festival (Osnabruck Germany), he has appeared at the Théâtre de la Ville (Paris – France), the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, D.C.), the Asia Society (Houston, TX), and the Getty Center (Los Angeles, CA), as well as appearing with the Berlin Radio Choir, featuring performances of his works in the RBB Hall. In the early 2000s, he recorded and published the Radif (traditional melodic techniques passed down orally from master to student across generations) of the legendary Maestro Aliakbar Khan Shahnazi. Since 2011, Mehdi resides in Southern California, sharing his music through a broad range of performance, recording, and educational practices.

Banafsheh’s dancing and Pejman’s music were so integrated, so perfect. Banafsheh conveyed the essence of whirling so beautifully it was breathtaking. But beyond that her dance was a language without words which wove worlds of meaning. Her body is a beautiful instrument, and in connection with the musicians such beautiful “visual music” flowed through, and the patterns of movement set up subtle vibrational harmonies. It was both unearthly magic and a full incarnation of what only human beings can do – to speak of the Beloved in entirely new creative ways in each moment. For me it was truly a spiritual experience provoking a palette of subtle emotions and ultimately deep rest and gratitude for our Beloved working through these human beings.
Jane Garland, MD, Canada
Audience Member, Banafsheh and ZARBANG live in Vancouver, BC

More information here.