Tag Archives: India

Opera ‘Kalileh and Demneh’ performed by children in Shiraz, Iran (Photos)

The opera of “Kalileh and Demneh”, arranged and conducted by Mohammad-Ali Fallahi, was performed by children younger than 12 years old at the Hafez Hall in Shiraz.

Kalileh and Demneh is a collection of didactic animal fables, with the jackals Kalileh and Demneh as two of the principal characters. Originally from India (between 500BCE and 100BCE), the fables were translated into many languages, undergoing significant changes in both form and content. In Persian literature Kalileh and Demneh has been known in different versions since the 6th century CE. In Sanskrit literature the story cycle is known as Panchatantra, while it was often called Fables of Bidpai in early modern Europe.

Sources: Mehr News Agency, Enciclopædia Iranica | Kalila wa Demna, Honaronline (in Persian)

Advertisements

Photo gallery: Nowruz – Iranian New Year Food and Sweets

The main dish for Nowruz is Sabzi Polow Mahi (Sabzi Polow = Rice with fresh herbs, Mahi = Fish). In addition you have Kookoo/Kuku Sabzi (an Iranian Frittata made of fresh herbs and optionally barberries and walnuts). Besides this you have all kinds of sweets, some of them are depicted below:

Sources:

Tumeric and Saffron 1, 2, 3My persian kitchen 1, 2, Persian mama, Iran review, Bottom of the pot

Nowruz – The Iranian New Year

Nowruz (meaning Now=new and ruz=day “The New Day”) is the name of the Iranian New Year. It marks the first day of spring (March equinox) and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar. It is officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Nowruz is celebrated by people from diverse ethnic communities and religious backgrounds for thousands of years. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians. It is also celebrated by the cultural region that came under Iranian influence.

Countries that have Nowruz as a public holiday include the following: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, India, Iran, Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan), Kazakhstan, Mongolia (regional state holiday only), Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Nowruz traditions
Spring cleaning
, or Khouneh Tekouni (literally means ‘shaking the house’) or ‘complete cleaning of the house’ is commonly performed before Nowruz. Persians and Kurdish and Lure Kurdish, Azerbaijanis, and start preparing for the Nowruz with a major spring-cleaning of their houses, the purchase of new clothes to wear for the new year and the purchase of flowers (in particular the hyacinth and the tulip are popular and conspicuous).

In association with the “rebirth of nature”, extensive spring-cleaning is a national tradition observed by almost every household in Iran. This is also extended to personal attire, and it is customary to buy at least one set of new clothes. On the New Year’s Day, families dress in their new clothes and start the twelve-day celebrations by visiting the elders of their family, then the rest of their family and finally their friends. On the thirteenth day families leave their homes and picnic outdoors, as part of the Sizdah Be-dar ceremony.

During the Nowruz holidays, people are expected to visit one another (mostly limited to families, friends and neighbors) in the form of short house visits, which are usually reciprocated. Typically, on the first day of Nowruz, family members gather around the table, with the Haft Sīn on the table or set next to it, and await the exact moment of the arrival of the spring. At that time gifts are exchanged. Later in the day, the first house visits are paid to the most senior family members. The youth will visit the elders first, and the elders return their visit later. When in previous year, a family member is deceased, the tradition is to visit that family first (among the elders).

The visits naturally have to be relatively short, otherwise one will not be able to visit everybody on their list. A typical visit is around 30 minutes, where you often run into other visiting relatives and friends who happen to be paying a visit to the same house at that time. Because of the house visits, you make sure you have a sufficient supply of pastry, cookies, fresh and dried fruits and special nuts on hand, as you typically serve your visitors with these items with tea or sherbet.

Click a photo and browse to the gallery to see the different elements of the Haft-Sin and their symbolic meaning:

Haft Sīn (haft=seven and sīn=s “The seven ‘S’s”) is the traditional table setting of Nowruz. The Haft Sīn items are:
Sabzeh: wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish, symbolizing green environment, happiness and rebirth.
Samanu: a sweet pudding made from germinated wheat, symbolizing affluence.
Senjed: the dried fruit of the oleaster tree, symbolizing firmness and tolerance.
Sīr: garlic, symbolizing health.
Sīb: apples, symbolizing beauty and love.
Somaq: sumac berries, symbolizing patience.
Serkeh: vinegar, symbolizing development and evolution.

Other symbolic items can be:
Sekkeh: coins, representing wealth
– Lit candles, representing enlightenment and sunrise.
– A mirror, symbolizing cleanliness and honesty
– Decorated eggs, sometimes one for each member of the family, symbolizing fertility
– A bowl of water with goldfish, representing life within life, and the sign of Pisces which the sun is leaving. As an essential object of the Nowruz table, the goldfish is also “very ancient and meaningful” and with Zoroastrian connection.
– Rosewater, symbolizing purity and cleanness.
– The national colours, for a patriotic touch
– A holy book (e.g., the Avesta, Qur’an or Kitáb-i-Aqdas) and/or a poetry book (almost always either the Shahnameh or the Divan of Hafiz)

Sources: Wikipedia | Nowruz, Tumeric & Saffron (1), Tumeric & Saffron (2)

Keyhan Kalhor: Iranian music maestro and former Grammy awards nominee to perform in the US and Canada

Iranian musician and Kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor along with Indian sitar maestro Shujaat Husain Khan is slated to perform in New York, Boston and Irvine

The duo is planning to present their program accompanied by Ghazal Ensemble in the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University on March 22, 2015.

Ghazal (with Shujaat Hussein Khan and Sandeep Das) March 2015 events are:
13 Mar: Kay Meek Theater, Vancouver, Canada
15 Mar: Skirball Center, Los Anegeles, CA
17 Mar: Irvine Barclay Theater, Irvine, CA
19 Mar: Freer Gallery, Washington, DC
21 Mar: Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
22 Mar: Schimmel Center at Pace University, NY
25-28 Mar: Agha Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada
29 Mar: Asia Society Texas Center, Houston, TX

Other Kayhan Kalhor early 2015 events (Europe, US): www.facebook.com/kalhor.kayhan

Iranian Kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor

Ghazal Ensemble, formed in 1997 by Kalhor and Husain Khan, has been touring the world and it is acclaimed for performing Indo-Persian music.

Described by the Los Angeles Times as “utterly captivating…an irresistible expression of creative musical passion,” Ghazal’s performances and recordings have garnered critical acclaim as well as a 2004 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional World Music Album for their 2003 live album The Rain. Amazon named Ghazal’s first CD, Lost Songs of the Silk Road, to its list of the best 100 world music albums ever recorded.

Kalhor is known for his brilliant performances on the traditional instrument Kamancheh and creating a unique mixture of classical Persian music with folk tunes of the Kurdistan region.

He held many concerts along with the world-renowned musicians and ensembles such as the string quartet, Brooklyn Rider ensemble, in Minneapolis, United States, in 2012.

Kalhor also presented joint programs with the veteran Turkish Baglama player Erdal Erzincan in New York’s GlobalFest held at the Marlin Room on January 13, 2013.

He also performed introspective performances with a number of world-class Asian musicians at BT River of Music in London.

Shujaat Husain Khan is one of today’s greatest North Indian artists, who represent the seventh generation of illustrious musicians, which includes his father, the great sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan.

BIOGRAPHY – KAYHAN KALHOR
Kayhan Kalhor is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso on the kamancheh (Persian spiked fiddle). His performances of Persian music and his many collaborations have attracted audiences around the globe.

Born in Tehran, Iran, he began his musical studies at the age of seven. At thirteen, he was invited to work with the National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Iran, where he performed for five years. When he was seventeen he began working with the Shayda Ensemble of the Chavosh Cultural Center, the most prestigious arts organization in Iran at the time.  At a musical conservatory in Tehran around age 20 Kalhor worked under the directorship of Mohammad-Reza Lotfi who is from Northern Khorasan. He has traveled extensively throughout Iran, studying the music of its many regions, in particular those of Khorason and Kordestan. He later moved to Rome and Ottawa to study European classical music.

Kayhan has toured the world as a soloist with various ensembles and orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de Lyon.  He is co-founder of the renowned ensembles Dastan, Ghazal: Persian & Indian Improvisations and Masters of Persian Music. Kayhan has composed works for Iran’s most renowned vocalists Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri and has also performed and recorded with Iran’s greatest instrumentalists.

Kayhan has composed music for television and film and was most recently featured on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Copolla’s Youth Without Youth in a score that he collaborated on with Osvaldo Golijov. In 2004, Kayhan was invited by American composer John Adams to give a solo recital at Carnegie Hall as part of his Perspectives Series and in the same year he appeared on a double bill at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, sharing the program with the Festival Orchestra performing the Mozart Requiem. Kayhan is an original member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and his compositions Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur, Silent City and Mountains Are Far Away, appear on all three of the Ensemble’s albums. His most recent commission for the Kölner Philharmonic in Germany will be premiered in October 2009.

Three of his recent recordings have been nominated for Grammys, Faryad, Without You and The Rain.  His new CD Silent City, with the innovative ensemble Brooklyn Rider, was released on the World Village label in September 2008 to critical acclaim.

Compositions
– Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur
– Gallop of a Thousand Horses
– I was There
– The Silent City
– Mountains Are Far Away

Sources: Press TVwww.kayhankalhor.net, Tehran TimesKODOOM.com, Philharmonic Society