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

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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The Official Post-Persian Parade Celebration at La Pomme!

Event: The Official Post-Persian Parade Celebration and Fundraiser sponsored by PAAIA NexGen, SJ-NY, and NIPONY
Time/Date: Sunday 4/15, 5PM – 10PM
Location: La Pomme, 37 West 26th Street b/w 5th & 6th Ave.
Admission: $15 General Admission (cash only), $10 Students with ID
Age Limit: 21 + over


– Persian and International Music by the legendary DJ POLKA
– Special guest appearance and encore performance from the PERSIAN PARADE DANCERS
– A provocative, French-inspired lounge with alluring photographic murals and cutting-edge decor just one block from the Madison Square Park!

Facebook event link:

Discount Online Ticket sales:

this event is a fundraiser for our beloved Persian Parade with the generous sponsorship of PAAIA NexGen, Shabeh Jomeh, PAF,and NIPONY, so come and show your support for the community!

For those interested in making donations and/or placing ads at the Persian Parade, please e-mail

The 9th Annual Persian Parade New York

Event: 9th Annual N.Y. Persian ParadeTime/Date: Sunday 4/15, 12:00 – 2:00 PM Festival in Madison Square Park From 2:00 PM – 5PM

Location: Parade goes from 38th Street – 26th Street on Madison Avenue

Persian Parade is an annual parade held in New York City celebrating Persian New Year, Nowruz. The 9th Annual Persian Parade, will be held along the 12 blocks of Madison Avenue in New York City on April 15th, 2012 to promote and represent the Iranian heritage and culture. In order to keep the traditions of our homeland alive, Persian Parade Foundation Inc. encourages everyone to be part of this year parade that focuses on the culture, arts, and history of our homeland, Iran. Everyone from every race and culture can participate in, while enjoying the music bands, dance ensembles, flags, floats, performers, marchers, and dignitaries.

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The Official Pre-Persian Parade Celebration at Greenhouse!

PAF is proud to sponsor this pre-Persian Parade extravaganza!

See up to date event details on the Facebook Page

Purchase Tickets Here.

This action-packed and exciting evening will feature:
– Delicious Complimentary Persian Appetizers from Ravagh Restaurant
– Professional Iranian and International Musical Programming by celebrity DJ’s Alex and Amir
– A special raffle to win tickets to BE ON A PARADE FLOAT!
– Exclusive Persian dance performance
– Exclusively from Washington DC: Celebrity FunnyMan and Master of Ceremonies MC Tehran So Parvaz
– Centrally located venue with three (3) beautifully furnished and fully staffed floors, opulent and plush interiors, and 3 dance floors!

Event: The OFFICIAL Pre-N.Y. Persian Parade celebration fundraiser sponsored by SJ-NY, PAAIA NexGen, PAF, and NIPONY
Time/Date: Saturday 4/14, 7PM – 12AM
Location: Greenhouse USA 150 Varick S b/w Spring St.& Vandam St.
Admission: $15 General Admission (cash only), $10 Students with ID
Dress Code: Semi Formal Attire; Men wear Suits, Ladies cocktail chic
Age Limit: 21 + over
Parking: There is easy street parking and parking lots within 2 blocks

7:00pm – Cocktails/Networking – First time guests are encouraged to arrive early to meet current members.
8:00pm – Persian appetizers will be served.
9:00pm – MC Tehran greets Guests, introduces Special Persian Dance Performance – and An exclusive preview of “What’s to come” at the Persian Parade.
9:30pm – 12:00am DJ’s Alex and Amir start their musical program and rock the house with the latest in Persian and international music, so get ready to dance!

Our party will be moved to the downstairs lounge at 11:00PM, join us as we continue to celebrate and show our support for such a great Iranian cultural organization. Our guests are GUARANTEED entry from 7pm – 10:30pm, after which time the venue will open to the public. Please arrive on time!

Exhibition and Performance of “The Homeling” by Aphrodite Désirée navab – Thurs, 4/5/12

Aphrodite Désirée Navab is an artist based in New York City of Iranian and Greek descent. Her performance art series: Super East-West Woman (ongoing since 2002) is motivated by a strategy of using humor and her own body for political and cultural critique. The concept was born in 2002 after former President George W. Bush branded Iran as one of the three nations comprising an “axis of evil.” It reminded her of the Islamic revolution in 1978-79 when Iran’s new leaders labeled the United States as the country of the “Great Satan.” Growing up in the USA, Navab was destined to critique the nations and cultures that inhabit her identity and who are so bent on vilifying each other.
Navab took her chador and turned it into a cape. The Superman figure of popular Western culture is transformed into a Superwoman whose chador turns into a cape of agency. She pokes fun at herself, her cultures, and the ludicrous situations in which her life, between East and West, has placed her. Cultural displacement has not left her incapacitated; rather, it has given her the capacity to live out her healing vision. Armored with her Persian amulets and Greek anti-evil eye bracelets, Super East-West Woman hopes to chase away the evil for which each nation blames the other.

Her commissioned performance for Shahrzad gallery at 8 pm on April 5th, 2012 at Theaterlab: 137 W 14th St, NYC is a continuation of her Super East-West Woman series: “The Homeling.” Homeling was her Greek grandmother Efigenia’s pronunciation for homeless. Neither homeless nor at home, homeling captures both the horror and the rapture, in re-locating home and world.

Navab invites us to imagine a ‘third space’ of working, contesting and reconstructing, allowing other positions to emerge–a space of transnational and cross-cultural initiations.

Event info can be found here.

Norooz Celebration! Mar. 22 | 7pm | Brooklyn, NY

Bowery Arts + Science and City Lore in collaboration with
Persian Arts Festival Present:

Norooz Celebration
Thurs, March 22nd
7 – 11 pm

VII Gallery | 28 Jay Street | DUMBO Brooklyn

Bowery Arts + Science, City Lore and the PAF ring in the Persian New Year in DUMBO, with contemporary literary and musical performances that will delight all ages and backgrounds. Come together and celebrate the wealth and beauty of Persian art and culture!

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Multi-media performances by poets on the subjects of life, death, homeland and love. Poets include Roger Sedarat, Sara Goudarzi, Amir Parsa and Kaveh Bassiri. Poems will be projected in Persian morphing into English translations from the roof of the POEMobile, a hand-painted truck and traveling cinema of words, onto DUMBO’s buildings and streets surrounding VII Gallery!

Film viewing of Niloufar Talebi’s The Persian Rite of Spring: the story of Nowruz
Clips  available for viewing here.

Musical performance by Middle East-meets-Brooklyn band, Vatan.

Performance Art – Iranian Greek American conceptual artist, Aphrodite Desiree Navab will perform “The Metamorph.” Materials: artist’s body, chador, mat, Scarlatti sonata in F minor K 466, haftsin.

Bowery Arts + Science, Ltd. is grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation for its New York City Cultural Innovation Fund award.


PAF thanks this year’s music performance sponsor: Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA)

Other promotional sponsors include New York University Persian Club, Persian Mirror, Columbia Iranian Students Association, Shabeh Jomeh, Network of Iranian Professionals of New York (NIPONY), Association of Iranian American Writers (AIAW), Oznoz Entertainment.

About Persian Arts Festival:

Founded in 2005, the Persian Arts Festival (PAF) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to showcasing the magnificence and diversity of Persian art and culture through its voices, artists and visionaries. PAF brings local and global communities together to support these artists and explore one of the world’s most ancient and rich civilizations. The festival gives audiences of all ages and traditions the chance to discover new Persian voices and celebrate established ones. Areas represented at previous events have included fine art, music, film, comedy, family activities and literary.

The Persian Arts Festival is a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). NYFA is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization founded in 1971 to work with the arts community throughout New York State to develop and facilitate programs in all disciplines.

About the POEMobile:

This performance is one in a series of poetry events composing A White Wing Brushing the Building, a Bowery Arts + Science and City Lore project highlighting the poetry of New York City’s ethnic communities and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s Cultural Innovation Grant. The project will focus on the poetry of 8 cultural communities in New York in 2011 and 8 in 2012, with the majority of the events happening during the summer. The titular “white wing” is taken from a poem by Martín Espada and refers to the projections of the poems that are integral part of the project as well as the live poetry readings which will happen in each of the communities.

To date, White Wing has hosted projections and poetry performances in the languages of the Lower East Side (Yiddish, Ukrainian, Spanish, and Cantonese) at the New Museum’s Festival of New Ideas and new work by Native American poets at the American Indian Community House and by Greek at Federation of Hellenic Societies in Astoria. Additional 2011collaborating communities included Mexican, Haitian, and Nuyorican; the POEMobile also appeared at the 2011 Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival. The events are stand alone programs but unified by the common elements of the poetry projections, which will reach the city’s neighborhoods—its storefronts, its basketball courts, its warehouse walls—from the POEMobile.

Support the production of THE IRAN JOB, a new Persian film

the Iran JobTHE IRAN JOB follows American basketball player Kevin Sheppard as he accepts a job to play in one of the world’s most feared countries: Iran. With tensions running high between Iran and the West, Kevin tries to separate sports from politics, only to find that politics is impossible to escape in Iran. Along the way he forms an unlikely alliance with three outspoken Iranian women. Thanks to these women, his apartment turns into an oasis of free speech, where they discuss everything from politics to religion to gender roles. Kevin’s season in Iran culminates in something much bigger than basketball: the uprising and subsequent suppression of Iran’s reformist Green Movement – a powerful prelude to the currently unfolding Arab Spring.

Read more about the film and back it through its Kickstarter Campaign here.

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