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Reinventing Selichot with Persian Jewish Music

Hosted By: My Jewish Learning

Join musician, composer, and anthropologist Galeet Dardashti for a pre-High Holiday Persian musical program. Galeet will share, sing, and discuss some of the music from her new album, Monajat (a Persian word referring to intimate prayer), which reimagines some of the Persian sacred music from Selichot—poetry chanted nightly preceding the Jewish New Year as spiritual preparation.

Monajat (which will release on September 9th) is inspired by old and haunting recordings of the prayers of Selichot chanted by Galeet’s late grandfather, Younes Dardashti, a famous master singer of Persian classical music in 1950s/60s Iran. Riffing off these old tapes, Galeet sings with remixed samples of her grandfather and composes a soundscape of original music performed by an acclaimed ensemble of musicians. Galeet will also provide more background on Judeo Persian music traditions and her journey in connecting with them.


Galeet Dardashti

As vocalist, composer and anthropologist Galeet Dardashti has earned a reputation as a trail-blazing performer, educator, and advocate for Middle Eastern and North African Jewish culture.  Dardashti is the first woman to continue her family’s tradition of distinguished Persian and Jewish musicianship.  Galeet's grandfather, Younes Dardashti, was one of the most highly acclaimed singers of Persian classical music in Iran and her father, Farid Dardashti, is an accomplished cantor in the US.  Galeet Dardashti is widely known as leader/founder of the renowned all-woman powerhouse Sephardi/Mizrahi Jewish ensemble Divahn, which released its newest album, Shalhevet, in 2020.  Time Out New York described Dardashti’s first solo album—her multi-disciplinary commission, The Naming— as “urgent, heartfelt and hypnotic;” The Huffington Post called it “heart-stopping.”  Dardashti recently completed an Artist-in-Virtual-Residence at Indiana University, and recorded Monajatsupported by IU and the MFJC.  Dardashti also has years of experience as cantor; this year she’ll be leading High Holidays with Kanisse in Manhattan—one of the first egalitarian Sephardi/Mizrahi communities in the country.  As a scholar, Dardashti examines Mizrahi music/media/cultural politics; she is currently Visiting Professor at NYU and will be a Fellow at University of Pennsylvania this coming year.  As artist, scholar, and cantor deeply steeped in this music, Dardashti is uniquely poised to share her boundary-breaking piece, Monajat.
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