The Songs and Stories series aims to highlight musicians and artists from within San Diego’s refugee communities. Through lively performances and real conversations, the CWM hopes to immerse audiences in the cultures and journeys of a seldom heard segment of the vibrant and diverse fabric of San Diego’s population.
Transformation through Rhythm & Word
Join us as we delve into the transformative nature of rhythm and word. In celebration of World Music Day/Make Music Day we will encourage participation and sharing in the experience of parallel beating hearts. This program is participatory and includes drumming. The CWM will provide instruments. No prior musical experience necessary.
Ari Honarvar – Speaker, Performer, Translator, and Author
Ari Honarvar was born in Shiraz, Iran. The Iran-Iraq war formed the background for her childhood. Coming from a family which strongly carried the legacies of Persian poets such as Rumi and Hafez, she has been drawn to share that artistic and spiritual wealth here in the USA which has been her home since age 14.
Her productions of A Thousand Faces of Love feature the poetry of Rumi. She presents a dynamic program including poems in Farsi and English in the form of Deklameh, Rumi stories, dance and the stories of Ari’s own encounters with the soul-saving power of poetry growing up during the Iran-Iraq War.
Shadi Amini – Poetry and Song
Shadi Amini is a poet, singer, and songwriter born in Tehran, Iran. Raised in a family that loved music, her grandfather was the source of life-long memories of Dashti, a form of traditional Persian music, being performed in her home. Growing up in this environment, Shadi loved singing old Persian songs in the company of her family and friends.
From the time she could write, Shadi composed stories and poetry that later served as lyrical inspiration for the songs she would create later in life. She was encouraged by her early teachers to continue developing her skills as a poet. Shadi’s need to express her emotions through words motivated her to study guitar so she could sing the poetry she so passionately wrote.
Pursuing her love of poetry and music as a profession, Shadi hopes to provoke the same passion in others that she has experienced herself.
Shifaa: Refugee Women’s Drum Circle – Music and Rhythm
Facilitated by Dilkwaz Ahmed, Ari Honarvar, and Christine Stevens
Music lives inside refugees in El Cajon. From the driving Arabic beat to the mystical scales of the Middle East, music brings them home, holds memories, and invokes healing energy. It is a cultural salve.
The Refugee Women’s Drum Circle started six years ago through a collaboration of Musical Ambassadors of Peace, UpBeat Drum Circles, and License to Freedom. The rhythms of cultural sharing allow for empowerment through community building, trust, and creative expression. The group includes women from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. The group is honored to share their creativity, songs, rhythms, and dance, not as a performance, but as an invitation to engage in a direct experience of unity through sound
The main coordinator is Dilkwaz Ahmed, award-winning woman’s rights activist and director of License to Freedom. Co-founder Christine Stevens brings music therapy expertise and experience working in northern Iraq. The group is facilitated by Ari Honarvar, founder of Rumi with a View, from Shiraz, Iran. The group is funded by Musical Ambassadors of Peace.
Vikas Srivastava – Discussant
Vikas Srivastava is a lifetime musician, having performed on stage since the age of four in genres from traditional Indian music to punk, funk, jazz and Afro-beat. For Vikas, music has always served as a medium for spiritual growth, multicultural identity and community solidarity. As a first generation American of Indian descent, he utilizes music and poetry to represent himself as part of socio-cultural groups and as a unique individual. He is also a longtime scholar and advocate of non-violence and social equity. Over the last 20 years, Vikas has integrated his research and practice of non-violent social change through arts and technology as a classroom teacher, administrator, consultant and public speaker for K-12 schools. His template for Gandhian School Design was published in The Living Gandhi (Penguin Books, 2013). He currently works as an educational consultant, teaching mentor, and public speaker. He performs regularly with his international improv ensemble Born Again Buddha. He also serves on the board of directors for the Tariq Khamisa Foundation and Kids for Peace, as well as the advisory board for Encinitas Friends of the Arts.
This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This project was also made possible with matching funds from the Peacemakers Fund and through a partnership with the San Diego Public Library system.
Financial support is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.