Divahn

 


 

 

 

 

Lead by singer and vocal innovator Galeet Dardashti, Divahn’s bold all-woman power-house ensemble infuses traditional and original Jewish songs with a modern and edgy twist.  Today Divahn has engendered an international following performing in venues ranging from top international concert halls and festivals to the most prestigious clubs in NYC.  
The group’s thrilling live shows include lush string arrangements, eclectic Indian, Middle Eastern, and Latin percussion, and vocals spanning Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, Persian, Arabic, and Aramaic.  Now based in New York, Divahn has shared the stage with some of the world’s most renowned master musicians.  As one of the few groups performing Mizrahi and Judeo-Arab music in the US, Divahn welcomes its audiences to a beautiful sphere of shared Jewish and Muslim culture.
 
Galeet Dardashti (lead vocals)

 is the first woman to continue her family’s tradition of distinguished Persian and Jewish musicianship.  After performing in the US and Canada with her family as a child, she began her own solo musical pursuits.  Since then she has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative Jewish musicians today.  She received a Six Points Fellowship to pursue her multi-disciplinary project and 2010 release The Naming, which interprets some of the compelling women of the Bible.  Time Out New York calls The Naming  “urgent, heartfelt and hypnotic” and The Huffington Post calls it “heart-stopping” and says you’ll “fall hard in love.”  Dardashti also leads the all-female power-house Mizrahi ensemble, Divahn.  The group has engendered an international following with its edgy renditions of traditional and original Middle Eastern Jewish songs.  In Divahn, Dardashti’s “sultry delivery…clings to listeners long after the last round of applause” (Jerusalem Report).  Her most recent project, Monajat—commissioned by the Foundation for Jewish Culture—debuted this past September with a six-city national tour.  The show is Dardashti’s re-inventing of Selihot, which occurs during the month preceding the High Holidays as a means of spiritual preparation.  Audiences are enveloped into the ritual with Persian melodies, poetic Hebrew texts, electronic soundscapes and dynamic live video art.  Dardashti also pursues her passion for Jewish culture as an anthropologist specializing in cultural politics and contemporary Middle Eastern/Arab music in Israel. She offers residencies, lectures, and workshops on her artistic and academic work throughout the US and abroad.
Rebecca Cherry (violin) began playing the violin at the age of 4, nurturing her love of classical, jazz, rock and ethnic music throughout her childhood, singing, playing several instruments, and writing her own music. She has begun a major career as a violinist and multi-talented musician changing the face of the “modern violinist” with a solo rock EP, art film and short story based on the lyrics from her upcoming album.  Rebecca released her first classical CD “Remembrances” in 2004. In addition, her music was featured in several movies, including “Goal Dreams” (2007) on the Sundance channel. Ms. Cherry’s concentration on composing and experimentation with electronics and effects has led her to performances of her work for violin and electronics with live midi processing. Ms Cherry is the recipient of a 2007 Harvestworks artist in residency grant.  Rebecca and composer David Soldier are recipients of a 2006 NYSCA grant for “The Compleat Victrola Sessions,” a multimedia performance for solo violin, black and white silent film, and electronics focusing on opium addiction in the early 1900’s. Rebecca formed Cherry-Tate Music productions with Terressa Tate. Their first piece for Monster.com, aired and Internationally, won many industry awards.  Ms. Cherry records, performs and tours extensively with many top international musicians and has performed with many Orchestra’s, including the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway, the London Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony and Vancouver Symphony. 
 
Eleanor Norton (cello) began her cello studies at the age of seven in Amherst, Massachusetts. She has since studied with David Pereira at the Australian National University, Alan Stepansky at the Peabody Conservatory, Richard Aaron at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Pam Devenport at the School for Strings in New York City. Eleanor graduated from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she was presented the Israel Dorman award for string playing. She has performed, recorded, and toured with many significant musicians and ensembles including the folk music legend Arlo Guthrie, The Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Little Women the Broadway Musical, Beyonce, Divahn, Moby, The Princeton Symphony Orchestra, TV on the Radio, and Duncan Sheik. She performs regularly with the New England Symphonic Ensemble at Carnegie Hall, is a member of the New York based Ossia Symphony Orchestra, and Bassam Saba’s Arabic Orchestra. Most recently Eleanor had the honor of performing for President Barack Obama at the State dinner honoring the President and First Lady of Mexico. Besides her active performing career Eleanor is also a devoted cello teacher. She is on the faculty of the Thurnauer School of Music, Hunter Elementary, and the Nightingale-Bamford School.  Eleanor is a founding member of the North Sky Ensemble.  In a recent CNN review, Eleanor’s performance of the Debussy Romance was described as “played expressively, with elegant intensity”.
Sejal Kukadia (tabla)  is a disciple of world-renown tabla master Pandit Divyang Vakil of Ahmedabad, India. As one of the United States’ only female classical tabla players, Sejal teaches and performs regularly at the Taalim School of Indian Music, a cultural institution that offers tabla classes throughout New Jersey and New York. Sejal is author of Rhythms of Tabla, a guidebook for understanding and learning the main rhythmic instrument of North Indian Classical Music. The book includes biographies of legendary players, differences between gharanas, practical instruction for beginner players, and much more. Sejal plays in Pandit Divyang Vakil’s Tabla Triveni, an Indian Classical tabla trio troupe that performs throughout the country. Sejal’s tabla can be heard on the CD Tabla Upaj.
 
Elizabeth Pupo-Walker (percussion), is originally from Nashville, Tennessee and moved to Seattle, Washington after graduating from the University of Kentucky. Elizabeth has been studying and performing percussion since 1992 and began her career in Seattle where she formed the experimental/percussive jazz group Manah. She worked with many prominent Seattle artists, including Skerik, Reggie Watts and members of Pearl Jam. Elizabeth also toured internationally with The Tiptons, a phenomenal Seattle Sax Quartet with a wide range of musical influences. Her strength is her versatility, playing many styles of music including Afro-cuban/Latin jazz, Samba, Rock/Pop, Folkloric Haitian, African Soukous, Funk, Experimental Jazz, and Hiphop/Soul. Her main focus of study and expertise is Afro-Cuban percussion with an emphasis on congas and bongos. She has had the honor of studying in Cuba with the master drummers of Los Munequitos de Matanzas, and plans to return for further study. She has also studied with Senegalese Griot, Mapate Diop and Brazilian drummer Jorge Alabe among others.

March 22nd- Scanlon Banquet Hall, 7PM………. mark your calendars!

 

Horace Campbell

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Professor at Syracuse University and he teaches African American Studies and Political Science. The Jamaican scholar and educator have also published several books, his most recent being Barack Obama And 21st Century Politics A Revolutionary Moment In The USA. Campbell is also a renowned activist and has down many presentations with organizations such as: World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), African Studies Association and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.

 

Presenters for GWHP Conference April 18th!

 

Rabbi Tirzah Firestone

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Founding Rabbi of Congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder Colorado, in the Jewish Renewal Tradition. She is also a psychotherapist and an author writing such books as: The Receiving: Reclaiming Jewish Women’s Wisdom and With Roots in Heaven: One Woman’s Passionate Journey into the Heart of Her Faith. She is an activist for human rights, working with the organization Rabbis for Human Rights, which concentrates in making sure that Israel follows human rights in the areas it has responsibility for. Firestone also speaks nationally and inter-nationally on women and Kaballah. She is also currently working for a Doctorate in Depth Psychology.

Arlene Dallalfar

 

Born and raised in Iran. She works at Lesley University in Cambridge Massachusetts in the Intercultural Relations Program. She has been teaching at the college since 1995, focusing on women’s studies and family studies. She specializes in gender, immigration and diaspora, women and work. She also works on the feminist theory in a cross-cultural perspective. Dallalfar also works as a documentary filmmaker focusing on ethnography.  Her latest research is on her own background – Jews in Iran and living in Diaspora in the United States.

Title for talk:  Side by Side: Contemporary Jewish Identity in Iran

Iran is repeatedly in the news, yet much of what is reported in mainstream media a rigid and stereotyped image of Iran and Iranians. Dr. Dallalfar’s research provides a more nuanced (re)presentation of life in Tehran today. She addresses the contemporary Jewish experience in Iran, with a emphasis on the vital role of gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, class, family and cultural practices among upper and middle class Judaeo-Iranians in Tehran. She also explores social demographic, structural and cultural factors that impact their experiences as an ethno-religious

minority. In addition, she will discuss differences in the immigrant experiences of Jewish and Muslim Iranians in diaspora.

Shahla Haeri

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Born and raised in Iran. She works at Boston University as the director of Women’s Studies Program and is also a Professor of cultural Anthropology. She does research in Iran, Pakistan and India and also writes about several subjects such as law and gender dynamics focusing on the Muslim world. She is also an author of several books, including No Shame for the Sun: Lives of Professional Pakistani Women. For her work, she has been awarded postdoctoral fellowships in areas such as Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. Haeri also has a film titled Mrs. President: Women and Political Leadership in Iran.

Manal Hamzeh

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The Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies at New Mexico State University. She was born and raised in Jordan. The focus of one of Manal’s research areas is the way that girls look at their bodies. She specifically looks at Muslim girls working on their hijab discourse also known as the many veils in their lives and widens their chances on learning. She teaches several courses at New Mexico State University including Feminist Research Methods and Representing Women across Cultures. She also has published several books including DeVeiling Pedagogies: Muslim Girls and the Hijab Discourse. Critical Constructions: Studies on Education and Society.

The Global Women’s History Project at Westfield State College

presents

Judeo-Islamic Relations: Women’s Contributions to Love and Peace

Wednesday, April 18

Scanlon Banquet Hall and Living Room

Noon- Film showing – The Queen and I- Scanlon Living Room

Refreshments served.

Filmmaker and Iranian exile NahidPerssonSarvestani talks with the widow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the late Shah of Iran, who was overthrown in 1979.

A very moving film about an emerging, if unlikely, friendship between two Iranian women of very different backgrounds and political positions…both Nahid and Empress Farah have suffered and overcome painful losses during and after the 1979 revolution. Both share a dream of returning to their beloved homeland – and work to that end, each in their own ways.

2p.m.- World Café (filled) – with RebbeTirzah Firestone

4p.m.- 5p.m.- Roundtable, Scanlon Living Room

Dr. ManalHamzeh- A view from Tahrir Square: Women and the

Jan. 25th Egyptian Revolution, based on Dr. Hamzeh’s recent visit to Egypt.

Dr. ShahlaHaeri- A view of the Queen of Sheba from a Judeo-Islamic perspective.

 

5:15-6p.m.- Honorary Degree Ceremony with Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dr. ShirinEbadi

 

Participants include: Dr. Evan Dobelle, Dr. Mina Safizadeh, Dr. ShahlaHaeri, GaleetDardhasti singing a Persian-Jewish version of a song for peace.

 

6p.m.- Public Reception with Dr. ShirinEbadi

Refreshments served

 

6:30p.m.- Dr. Arlene Dallalfar- Side by Side: Contemporary Jewish Identity in Iran

 

7:30p.m.- Dr. Tirzah Firestone on the redemptive, intrinsically universal and unifying and healing aspects of Jewish mysticism.

 

8:30p.m.- Concert of World Music: GaleetDardhasti and Divahn

Come rock with GaleetDardhasti and her musical group, Divahn, for an eclectic mix of Indian, Middle Eastern, Latin percussion and vocal spanning Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, Persian, Arabic and Aramaic

Persian and Arab classical music, Ashkenazicantorial music, Western classical music and jazz.

 

 

 

 

Manal Hamzeh

On the 25 of January, 2011, the Egyptian people decided to take a stand and revolt against their dominating government. This non-violent uprising has brought out thousands of people locally, regionally, and globally to take a stand in labor strikes, demonstrations, marches and acts of civil disobedience. The people of Egypt wanted political and economic change, and overall, respect and equality. Protestor’s primary causes for change were food price inflation, low minimum wage, police brutality, state of emergency laws, political censorship, in addition to wide spread corruption. These issues have been ignored for years with brutal government officials held in office who could care less for the people of their country. Part of the revolution was to overthrow Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, which was a success on February 11th, 2011. In order to put pressure on the government for change, many labor unions joined the strike, fed up with years of being underpaid.

For the past decade, over 2 million people, 3,300 plus strikes, demonstrations, and sit-ins and as a result, the people of Egypt’s voice have finally been heard. The reason the strike did not generate this much media and support before was because it was just individuals. The Egyptian government has enough money to fully function. They do not feel any empathy towards their people and without threatening the government, no actual change will occur. However, once the labor strike began, the government started to take notice. With workers now taking strike, it linked the gap between the political and economic demands. One of the major labor strikes were the workers of the Suez Canal. Bringing in a giant amount of economic stability for the country, the Suez Canal is one of the paramount sites in Egypt. 8% of the world’s trade travels through the canal and about 1.8 million barrels of oil daily. Over 6,000 workers for the Suez Canal went on strike in order to put pressure on the government, causing panic for the government. In addition to the Suez cannel workers going on strike, this also meant the Suez textile, steal, and textile workers. With such an exurbanite amount of workers on strike, in addition to the thousands of protestors on strike, the professionals began to protest as well. In Tahrir Square doctor and lawyers came dressed in their scrubs and mask, lawyers still dressed in long robs, all chanting for change. The doctors were yelling, “We are doctors and we are against the dictatorship” in Arabic this rhymes.

This revolution sparked a series of revolutions in Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria and Libya, all inspired by the courage of the Egyptian people. As a result of the President’s position open, the military has taken control of the country until further notice. Fright has escalated through the people that the military will rule for a long time, making the violence, corruption, and other issues drag on indefinitely.

Recently I was fortunate enough to do a Skype interview with Manal Hamzeh, noted feminist, activist, and pro-democratic. This was my first interview with someone other than my friends goofing around, or my Uncle who is my boss. In the beginning I was a little nervous, but quickly warmed up to Manal’s warm, inspiring life, admiring the accomplishments she has already completed.

Since Manal Hamzeh lives in New Mexico, I almost missed our Skype session because I forgot about the time difference! Manal is a strong, intelligent, independent woman who was welcoming to any questions I had.

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Manal Hamzeh on Hoda Sharawai St.

She earned her Ph.D. for Curriculum and Instruction in 2007 at New Mexico State University, her M.A. and B.A. at George Washington University, in addition to her M.S. at Gallaudet University. A woman who is not afraid to speak her mind, Manal enlightens others with her education and experience. Manal Hamzeh is now a professor at NMU, teaching, Feminist Research Methods; Feminist Postcolonial Theories; Women in Arab/Muslim Cultures; Representing Women across Cultures.

I began conduction my interview by asking what method of teaching she uses. She began to tell me how she follows the feminist and pro-democracy stand. Meaning everyone has a say in the class room and not one person is more powerful than another.  Also, that she is not the only person with a functioning brain in the classroom; her students are producers of knowledge as well. This method of teaching allows every student to have an opinion and creates more of an open environment where students are more apt to participate. Manal not only uses this approach in the classroom, but also in everyday life. Especially when she was in Cairo meeting many people of various backgrounds and careers.

Next, I asked what brought her to Cairo. Manal said that she has had an extensive history with Egypt because she is Arab, so many of her family and friends still live there. By having such close knit ties with Egypt, she is extremely connected politically. Manal informed me that Cairo is the intellectual and cultural center of the Arab world, or in other words as “a source of inspiration and knowledge” to as many as 250 million Arab’s. Manal’s passion and determination for change in the Arab world shone throughout the interview.

Manal was in Cairo from December 9th through the 15th, 2011. Her primary location was in Zamalek across the Nile from Tahrir Square. There was not enough time to explore the beautiful country because there was so much to see, learn and people to meet in the eventful, active square.

As a curious student, I often find myself surrounded by propaganda trying to find out what is really occurring in Cairo, or any revolution. What she recommended me to do is get a direct source. Now it is hard to pick up and leave America to just experience Egypt for a few days. So Manal suggested that I look at Egyptian newspapers and magazines online to see what there journalist are writing. The problem with America is that we are suffocated by main stream media outlets that feed us the information they want constantly. Majority of this information is twisted and pressed out into formulated racist and politically incorrect news. To get real news you need to do in depth research, with non-main stream media outlets. Manal recommended Al Ahram Weekly (http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/ ). This is a great English written Egyptian newspaper that you can get real, up to date information about the revolution.

Next, I questioned Manal on what she has gained through this experience. She responded by saying that it was an amazing firsthand experience. She met so many fantastic people that inspired her in ways she could not just sit down and list. In Tahrir Square she got to know bloggers, professors, and committee organizers who were all involved in the Cairo revolution. All of these people from different backgrounds, different jobs, different religions, all banning as one to make a difference is remarkable. Every supporter that was there helped and impacted the entire revolution vastly. Manal noted that women were in particularly were in the frontline! This is such a crucial part because it clearly demonstrates how powerful woman can be. Arab and Muslim women showed in this revolution that they are in the lead of struggles towards social justice, especially through events such as the Arab Spring. However, we now have such powerful and successful women standing up and say we can do this to!

I proceeded to ask Manal if she has felt like she has made an impact on the revolution or the people, she modestly responded, “very minimal.” However, she began to reminisce about Cairo at this point, painting a picture of herself walking around a occupy area. There were people everywhere, of all race, religion, color, you name it. Everyone was there in support of the revolution, supporting it in one fashion or another. She came across a group of young musicians playing music sitting on the ground, she proceeded to sit and chat with them. Telling these musicians that she is a professor at NMU teaching courses to young Americans about what they are doing; starting and participating in this revolution.  Immediately they became bashful and astonished that people across the globe were learning and inspired about the work they were doing. Manal followed up by saying young people are underestimated and are misunderstood as intellectuals in this world, they are smart and organized, holding the capability to do outstanding things.

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Photograph of Manal Hamzeh and Nadia Kamel in Cairo.

When asked if Manal ever felt in danger, she simply responded “No.” As a politically active feminist and by simply visiting the people and sites of this Egyptian revolution, it would seem she might be scared. But Manal told me how her many connections around Egypt have kept her knowledgeable on what is occurring. This gave her the literacy of how to stay out of danger zones, although there were times she was walking in places where blood marks were still visible on the pavement. When asked if this made her want to run home on the first plane, she said she felt more anger and pain, as opposed to fright. Seeing the forgotten blood on the street is a new motivation that the goals of the revolutions are not met yet and change needs to occur, now. People need to organize stronger and make an even bigger stand to show they are not giving up, and this is not going to last forever. After showing so much pride and enthusiasm for the revolution, Manal proceeded to tell me how she plans on going back to learn with/from the revolution and gain better experience how to teach it. With two greatly anticipated publications in press, Manal hopes to soon conceptualize a third book from this experience. Although she wishes to continue her love of teaching, she wishes to conduct more research for her next book.

At the end of our conversation she wished me luck and gave me additional sources to help me with my blog. A wonderful woman to talk with, she broke down the situation so I could understand it. Clearly a great professor, already accomplishing so much, I am excited what the future holds.

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Photograph of Nadia Kamel.

The following is a link to Nadia’s blog.

http://salatabaladi.blogspot.com

 

In addition to my blog about feminism, equality and other updates about the Egyptian revolution, Manal noted that women in particular were in the frontlines in street protests, specific issues campaigns such as “ No Military Trial to Civilians” (http://en.nomiltrials.com/), in makeshift hospitals in Tahrir etc.

 

Don’t forget to come to and listen to her lecture in April !

Keep Following for details (:

At Westfield State on April 18th Divahn and Galeet Dardashti is preforming in Scanlon Banquet Hall!!

Please join us at this  onference with a focus on women’s contributions…

Guests Include:

Dr. Arlene Dallalfur

Dr. Shahla Haeri

Rebbe Tirzah Firestone

Dr. manal Hamzeh

Dr. Shirin Ebadi

This concert will be held after Shirin Ebadi for her Honorary Degree.

“Divahn”, a word common to Hebrew, Persian, and Arabic, meaning a collection of poetry or songs, expresses the spirit of this years Global Women’s History Conference.

Check out some of Divahn’s music HERE!

Check out their website for more info !!

http://divahn.com/index.htm

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