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    As the first woman to continue her family’s tradition of distinguished Persian and Jewish musicianship, Galeet Dardashti pursues her passion for Jewish and Middle Eastern music as vocal innovator/composer and scholar. Together with The Dardashti Family, Galeet performed Jewish music throughout the US and Canada for almost twenty years. Since then, she has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative Jewish and Middle Eastern musicians today. Dardashti also holds a Ph.D. in anthropology, specializing in cultural politics and contemporary Middle Eastern/Arab music in Israel, and will be a Postdoctoral Fellow at NYU for the 2012-2013 academic year.

    Seemi Bushra Ghazi is a lecturer in Classical Arabic at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She has a special interest in Islamic literature, culture and spirituality, as well as Islam and gender. Ms. Ghazi is also a student in the Rifa`i Ma`rufi spiritual lineage and a performer of traditional Islamic arts, including recitation of the Qur’an and Hamd, or divine praise songs. She has lectured widely and her interviews and performances have been featured on BBC, CBC, NPR and PBS. Ms. Ghazi is deeply involved in interfaith work, including at The Centre for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University, and she currently hosts a monthly Unity Dhikr in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is a founding Board Member of the Rumi Society of Vancouver and the Vancouver Interspiritual Centre Society.

    Nivedita ShivRaj is a carnatic music professional and hails from a family of musicians. She has been performing for more than 20 years, in various sabhas, temples and cultural organizations in India and the USA. She has won many medals and prizes in various competitions, and was the first Indian musician to be featured in the Spiral Music series of the Rubin Museum of Art (NYC). ShivRaj has conducted workshops on Carnatic music in the New York City public schools organized by Carnegie Hall. She now teaches vocal music and veena in New York.

    Kay Turner, Brooklyn Arts Council's (BAC) Folk Arts Director, has a Ph.D. in Folklore and Anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin. In addition to her work at BAC, she teaches courses on gender, theory of time and performance, and oral narrative theory in the Performance Studies Graduate Program at New York University. Among her publications are Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars (Thames and Hudson) and Baby Precious Always Shines (St. Martin’s Press), an edited selection of love notes between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Her current scholarly work includes “September 11th and the Burden of the Ephemeral,” an essay published in 2009 and a book project with Dr. Pauline Greenhill, Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms (forthcoming in 2012, Wayne State University Press).


    Built by the United Methodist Church in 1963, the Church Center for the United Nations is a 12 story office building housing NGOs who work at the United Nations on issues related to human rights protections and peaceful and just resolution of conflict. It is currently owned and operated by United Methodist Women. The Tillman Chapel is on its ground floor. It is an ecumenical chapel which seeks to open its doors to the U.N. Community and the many and diverse traditions of its people. The Tillman Chapel is offered as a sacred space where various faith traditions represented at the U.N. might practice their liturgies, traditions and rites within a common commitment to seek peace and establish just local, national and international practices around the world.

    The Power of Sound

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The Power of Sound


Thursday, September 13, 2012 | 6-7.30pm

Tillman Chapel at the Church Center for the United Nations
777 First Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Cross Street: East 44th Street
Subways: 4, 5, 6, 7 to Grand Central-42 St
Buses: M15 to 1 Av-E 45 St; M42 to E 42 St-1 Av

FREE. Open seating. Arrive early to ensure best seats.
RSVP: http://powerofsoundtalk.eventbrite.com/
RSVP does not guarantee a seat, but allows you to receive updates and reminders about the event.

Three exceptional female vocalists—from the Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths—invite you to experience and participate in sacred chants from their traditions. A conversation will follow, exploring the origins and the role of these transcendental sounds and the relationships that might exist between them. Audience participation is encouraged. Featuring Galeet Dardashti (Iranian-descended vocalist, Jewish cantor, and anthropologist/Taub Postdoctoral Fellow at NYU), Seemi Bushra Ghazi (lecturer in Classical Arabic, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and performer of recitations of the Qur’an and divine Islamic praise songs), and Nivedita ShivRaj (South Indian Carnatic musician and vocalist). Moderated by Kay Turner (Folk Arts Director, Brooklyn Arts Council, and Adjunct Professor, Performance Studies, NYU).

Presented by the Asian American Arts Alliance in association with the Tillman Chapel at the Church Center for the United Nations.
This talk is supported in part by the New York Council for the Humanities.


  1. adem carroll says:

    please film this wonderful event and post this online!

    I would ask about deeper levels of listening as well as sound production. How do each speaker undertand this sort of higher listening– is it about integration of mind and body and if so what does that mean?

  2. a z khan says:

    I never believed in spritual entertainments ,Faith is sacred and serene not for entertaining but for learning how to live here for hereafter.

  3. Aisha UBC says:

    Seemi has an amazing voice! I only wish I could have been there in person.

Propose your own questions to the moderator before the panel using the form below