‘The Wind of Peace: Music and Poetry of the Middle East’ at CSUSB May 10



By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley) — An evening of music and poetry of the Middle East will be featured when Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies presents “The Wind of Peace: Music and Poetry of the Middle East” on Tuesday, May 10.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the university’s Santos Manuel Student Union Theater, and is free and open to the public. Parking at CSUSB is $6.

“This multilingual, eclectic and exciting event will bring both contemporary and older, well-known music and poetry from the Middle East focusing on peace and freedoms,” said Ece Algan, director of CIMES and associate professor of communication studies at CSUSB.

“Poets have always been the diplomats of the world by seeing deeper into the nature of life and history and by valuing human languages and cultures,” said Chad Sweeney, assistant professor of English at CSUSB and co-organizer of the event.  “This event, ‘The Wind of Peace,’ celebrates the long tradition of poetry in the Middle East — a poetry of love and freedom, a poetry of witness and revelation — including the contemporary, living poetry born of this diverse heritage.  As Rumi once called out to us, ‘Beyond our notions of good and evil there is a field. I’ll meet you there.’”

Featured artists are Sholeh Wolpé, an Iranian American poet and translator; Hamid Saeidi, musician, producer and award-winning composer; Katia Aoun Hage, a Lebanese-American music teacher, poet and artist; and Dan Klooster, an ethnomusicologist from Redlands.

In addition, Algan said, “CSUSB faculty will read poems in original Turkish, Arabic and Farsi by internationally renowned poets from the region such as Nazim Hikmet, Mahmoud Darwish, Rumi, Sayeh and Naomi Shihab Nye. The event will also introduce poems written by prisoners of Guantanamo Bay, translated into English and published thanks to the efforts of pro bono attorneys who submitted each line to Pentagon scrutiny in order to make the prisoners’ voices heard.”

Algan (Turkey) and Sweeney (Iran) will be joined in the poetry readings by Michelle Bologna and Dany Doueiri (Palestine), Parastou Feiz (Iran), and Kelly Dortch (poems from Guantanamo).

Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-born poet and literary translator. She is the recipient of the 2014 PEN/Heim, 2013 Midwest Book Award and 2010 Lois Roth Persian Translation prize. Wolpé’s nine books include, “Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths,” “Rooftops of Tehran,” “Sin—Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad,” and “The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and Its Exiles.”

Wolpé’s modern translation of “The Conference of the Birds” by the 12th century Iranian mystic poet, Attaris forthcoming from W.W. Norton in 2017. Her work has been translated into many languages, and a collection of her poems, “Cómo Escribir una Canción de Amor,” will be published in Spanish both in Spain and Mexico in this year.

Hamid Saeidi is a musician, producer and award-winning composer who was trained in the Radiff system of Persian Classical music from the age of 15. He studied santoor (Persian hammered dulcimer) with Iranian musician Madjid Kiani. His technique, emotional depth and innovative improvisations led him to pursue a degree in music from The Iranian Academy of the Arts, where he studied composition under Farhad Fakhredini and Vartan Sahakian.

Saedi has received international acclaim for performances in Iran, Greece, Ireland, Germany, Turkey, Canada, Malaysia and the United States. Over his career, he has composed musical scores for more than 30 films, television programs, dance and theatrical presentations. His work received awards at the Beirut film festival (2002), the Iran TV Festival (2002-2004-2007) and the Society of Critics of Theater in Iran (2005). In recognition of his accomplishments on the international stage, The Farhang Foundation in Los Angeles commissioned original multimedia compositions by Saedi in 2011 and 2012 for its annual Nowruz celebration of Persian culture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Katia Aoun Hage is a Lebanese-American music teacher, poet and artist. She holds a degree in musicology from the University of the Holy Spirit in Lebanon and a master’s in music education from the University of Redlands. Her passion for the arts has led her to collaborate with musicians, poets, dancers and painters in the Inland Empire. Her love and deep appreciation for the cultures of both countries she calls home are what drives her artistic creativity, music and writings.

Dan Klooster is a geographer by training and an ethnomusicologist by aspiration.  He learned to play quena flute and guitar in South America. Before moving to the Inland Empire, he played those instruments and sang in Aconcagua, an ethnomusicology ensemble at Florida State University. He keeps a day job as professor and chair of the environmental studies department at the University of Redlands.

“The Wind of Peace: Music and Poetry of the Middle East” is co-organized and co-sponsored by the CSUSB Department of English and the CSUSB Intellectual Life Fund.

For more information and accommodations please contact Ece Algan, director of CIMES at (909) 537-7469 or ealgan@csusb.edu, or Chad Sweeney, asssistant professor of English at (909) 537-5843 or chadsw@csusb.edu.

Visit the CSUSB Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies website at http://cimes.csusb.edu for more information on its programs.

About California State University, San Bernardino: Set in the foothills of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, Cal State San Bernardino is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in inland Southern California. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, CSUSB serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually. For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.

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