A Celebration of Persian Jewish Music in honor of Purim

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2022


Tuesday, March 15 at 8 pm ET
Suggested $10 Donation


What is Persian Jewish Music? In this program Dr. Galeet Dardashti will help us explore some of Judeo-Persian musical traditions through both recorded and live music examples. Her grandfather, Younes Dardashti, was one of the most famous singers of Persian classical music in Iran and her grandmother’s family came from Hamadan, modern day Shushan, the ancient Persian city where the story of Purim unfolded. Galeet’s family history and her own artistic work will be central to this pre-Purim session.

More about Dr. Dardashti

As the granddaughter of Younes Dardashti, the most renowned singer of Persian classical music in Iran in his day, and daughter of highly esteemed cantor Farid Dardashti, Middle Eastern vocalist and composer Galeet Dardashti is the first woman in her family to continue her family tradition of distinguished Persian and Jewish musicianship.

After performing in the US and Canada with The Dardashti Family from her childhood into her teenage years, Dardashti began her own independent musical pursuits. She has performed as a soloist both throughout the US and Israel, including significant cantorial work.

Her newest performance, Monajat, is inspired by the poetic prayers of Selihot, recited during the month preceding Jewish New Year. It is a time-specific concert and program that takes place during a period of deep reflection and spiritual preparation. In the project, she re-imagines the Selihot ritual in collaboration with an acclaimed ensemble of musicians, an electronic soundscape, and dynamic live video art. Monajat is a Persian word meaning an intimate dialogue with the Divine. Using Persian melodies and Hebrew texts, the work pays homage to her grandfather. She performs some of the Persian piyutim (liturgical songs) traditionally chanted as part of the Selihot service, as well as other liturgical and non-liturgical Hebrew and Persian poetry set to new music. Through electronics, she defies time and performs with her grandfather.

As leader and vocalist of the edgy all-female Mizrahi band Divahn, Dardashti’s “sultry delivery spans international styles and clings to listeners long after the last round of applause” (Jerusalem Report).

Her acoustic/electronic solo project The Naming, supported by a Six Points Fellowship and a Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Fellowship, draws inspiration from the musical and cultural landscapes of the Middle East and some of the provocative yet unsung Biblical women who lived there. The Huffington Post calls the album “a heart-stopping effort.” The Naming album launched in September 2010.

Galeet also pursues her passion for Jewish music and culture as an anthropologist. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology, specializing in cultural politics and contemporary Middle Eastern/Arab music in Israel. She is currently Assistant Professor of Jewish Music and Musician-in-Residence at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and she has published widely on her work. She offers residencies, lectures, and workshops on her artistic and academic work.