Robert Browning Associates presents first NY appearance of acclaimed Persian ensemble



Saturday, APRIL 26, 2014   8:00 PM

+ 7:00 PM pre-concert artist talk


ROULETTE, 509 Atlantic Avenue (at 3rd Ave), Downtown Brooklyn

$25; $20 seniors, students      Box office (917) 267-0363

Info, video & tickets:

The Music from the Mediterranean to Asia series presented by Robert Browning Associates continues with the first New York appearance of Amir Nojan and the Nava Ensemble in a meditative program of sung poetry and instrumental music in the classical Persian tradition. The ensemble is under the direction of Amir Nojan, a virtuoso setar (lute) player who studied with leading names in traditional Persian music, including Dariush Tala’i, Mohammad Reza Lotfi, and Jalal Zolfonoun. Nojan is joined by vocalist Taghi Amjadi, who has mastered the intricate and ornate singing tradition of Persian music and has a deep understanding of the mystical Persian poetry tradition, and Sina Dehghani, a percussionist par excellence whose instruments include tonbak (goblet-shaped drum) and daf (frame drum). The program’s songs are drawn from a rich history of mystical poetry that ranges from 11th – to 14th-century poets such as Baba Taher, Nizami, Rumi (Molavi), Hafez, and Sa’adi, and more modern poets of the 17th – to 20th-centuries.

As with most Asian and Middle Eastern music, there is a close link between music and poetry. At times, when the Persian language and identity were under assault (as during the Mongol invasion), it was poetry that kept the culture alive. With religious proscriptions against music and dance at various times, the culture was often maintained through poetry because of its connection to Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam that plays such an important part in the lives of the Iranian people. Instrumental music is nearly always performed as part of a suite that includes sung poetry. Improvisation is an essential part of any performance, and the musicians draw on their experience and mastery of technique to convey the emotions described by the song texts while adding their personal interpretations.

Amir Nojan, born in Shiraz, Iran in 1980 and currently living in California, is known for his brilliance on the setar, and his comprehensive knowledge of radif, the Persian traditional/classical repertoire. He started studying traditional Persian music at the age of 12 and over the years has benefited from the teachings of great masters of Persian music such as Dariush Tala’i, Jalal Zolfonoun and Mohammad Reza Lotfi. He established and directed the Nava Ensemble in 1998 in Iran and has continued that work in the US. He has performed in Iran, Europe and the US as a composer, soloist, improviser and ensemble player, and collaborated with such renowned musicians as Alim Qasimov and Shahram Nazeri. In 2012, he founded the Shiraz Arts Academy, the first professional academy for the teaching of Persian music and arts in Northern California (San Jose).

Taghi Amjadi grew up in Iran, where he began performing at the age of 14. He studied with master musician Esmail Mehrtaash, and continued his studies in the US with Mahmoud Zofonoun, Mohammad Reza Lotfi and Mohammad Reza Shajarian. He is a co-founder of the Barbod ensemble, and has been teaching and performing with various artists in the Bay Area since 1980. He currently teaches classical Persian singing at the Shiraz Arts Academy in San Jose and works as a psychotherapist privately in the Bay Area and at San Francisco State University.

Sina Dehghani, born in 1976 in Tehran, has been playing two ancient Persian percussion instruments, tonbak and daf, since the age of 14. He studied with master percussionists Bahram Dehghani, Majid Hesabi and Navid Afghi; in recent years he has continued his study of daf with Bijan Kamkar, one of Iran’s most prominent daf players, and Mas’od Habibi. In Iran, he played with several ensembles, including Daf Zanan Delahor. A new immigrant, he currently teaches Persian percussion at the Shiraz Academy of Art and culture.


Robert Browning Associates continues the programming initiated by the founders of the music programming at the Alternative Center for International Arts (Alternative Museum) from 1976 to 1985 and the World Music Institute from 1985 to 2011. Current activities include curating World Views, a concert series presented at Zankel Hall by Carnegie Hall in partnership with Robert Browning Associates; a US tour by Asif Ali Khan, a senior disciple of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and his Qawwali ensemble; and a 4-part concert series of meditational music from the Mediterranean to Asia at Roulette in Downtown Brooklyn.

The last concert in this season’s Music from the Mediterranean to Asia series at Roulette features Omar Faruk Tekbilek with Murat Tekbilek – Sufi Music of Turkey (May 3).

For press information, contact:  Helene Browning at 718-541-2366 or

PAF Presents: SHURKA BAZAAR – following NY Persian Parade

shurkaheaderOn April 14, 2013, in honor of Persian Parade’s 10th year anniversary, Shurka Bazaar will transform Madison Avenue, alongside Madison Square Park, into an urban oasis.  A Persian Bazaar of ancient times.  A fantastical experience of being transported to a destination through a cultural immersion, vivid as a memory and true to the imagination, yet far from anything one has ever experienced.

The event is free to the general public and is being held on Sunday, April 14, from 12:00pm – 5:00pm on Madison Avenue between 23rd and 26th Street.  Shurka Bazaar will attract a widely diverse audience that are global-minded and culture seeking consumers.  We anticipate over 140,000 visitors.  Immediate awareness and hype will be generated by our marketing campaign, thus delivering your brand to the savvy urban consumer.

Featured vendors include:

We are looking for all kinds of interesting vendors, Persian and non-Perisan vendors.  If you are interested in more info, please contact us.


March 30th! 7th Annual Persian New Year Celebration: Persian Music Intersects with 70s Funk | Jazz & Blues | Country

PAF Norooz 2013 E-flyer final

NYC’s Persian Arts Festival, Inc. (PAF), an organization devoted to providing a platform for Persian artists and visionaries, joins forces with Le Poisson Rouge and other Persian cultural organizations to present a New Year extravaganza featuring Persian fusion from three of the city’s top-tiered bands.  Purchase tickets on LPR’s website.  Get up to date info on our Facebook event page.

The evening will be full of musical surprise and delight, featuring rare Persian grooves by DJ Payam, Rana Farhan’s unique blend of classic Persian poetry with contemporary jazz and blues, Vatan’s Persian-meets-country-rock sounds and a blast into the past with Mitra Sumara’s super group of New York City musicians that pay homage to the vibrant pop and funk music of 60s/70s Iran.  This year’s event is sponsored by the American Institute of Iranian Studies (AIIrS –, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA – and Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB –

“Norooz”, literally translated as “New Day” in Farsi, is a holiday celebrated around the Spring Equinox by Persians, Kurds, Turks, Afghans, Tajiks, Parsis, and other ethnic communities.  Norooz not only marks the rejuvenation of the earth but it also allows people to gather and share in their unique traditions.  New York City is the perfect city for the occasion, and the Persian Arts Festival Annual New Year Celebration is a guaranteed way to usher in the spring season with outstanding Persian traditional and contemporary arts and culture.


World Music Institute Presents: SALAR AGHILI & THE HAMNAVAZAN ENSEMBLE | 9/30/12

World Music Institute Presents

SEPT 30, Sunday, 7pm

An evening of highly ornamental, exquisite and meditative music. Distinguished singer Salar Aghili, one of the foremost Persian classical vocalists of his generation, is joined by the Hamnavazan Ensemble, featuring Hossein Behroozinia (barbat – lute) and Said Farajpoury (kamancheh - spike fiddle) of the Dastan Ensemble,  Harir Shariatzadeh (piano, daf – frame drum), and Behnan Masoumi (tombak – goblet drum, daf). Their repertoire features centuries-old Persian music, and new approaches to rarely heard songs of the past century.

th St, NYC
$30, $40 / WMI Friends $25, $35
(212) 545-7536

Niyaz Releases “Sumud” | Concert in NYC!

PAF is thrilled to promote Niyaz’ album and upcoming concert in NYC.  Niyaz is a personal favorite among the PAF crew, and their new album, “Sumud”, takes their music to the next level.

In an age where conflict regions are tearing up areas of the Middle East, as well as completely fracturing the understanding of Arabic culture in America, Niyaz is presenting the most groundbreaking marriage of ancient, ecstatic verse with 21st-century dancefloor kinetics.  A journey to the heart of the unmistakable voice of Azam Ali, the refined acoustic/ electronic instrumentation of Loga Ramin Torkian, and the cutting-edge electronic artistry of two-time Grammy nominee producer-remixer Carmen Rizzo. NIYAZ defines the best in contemporary world music by effortlessly marrying rich Sufi mystical poetry and folk songs from the Middle East, masterful acoustic intrumentation, with modern electronics.

‘By ramping it up sonically and musically from an electronic perspective, it opens up an entire range of possibilities for the live performance,’ Rizzo says. ‘The new show is going to have a lot more electronic elements and textures, and be a lot more beat-driven. The songs are going to be arranged and performed a lot differently than the record.’

We are honored to be able to offer the PAF community a free song download from the album, as well as a preview of the entire album by clicking here.  We hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!

Just when you thought this post could not get more exciting, Niyaz is touring around this new release, and frequenting major cities across the US, including NYC!  PAF is giving away free tickets to the concert along with a free copy of the Niyaz CD via our Facebook Contest! For a chance to win, simply comment on the PAF Facebook Page and tell us what your favorite Niyaz song is and why.

Tickets for the NYC show are available now for purchase!  Here are the details:

When: Sunday, July 22nd

Doors: 7pm

Show: 8pm


85 Avenue A 10009 New York, NY, US

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