"Artists for Peace Perform at 1909 Sanctuary Nov. 3, 8 p.m.
November 1, 2012 -
Artists for Peace presents a benefit performance at Topangas 1909 Sanctuary on Nov. 3, by former child-soldier and singer Tony Khalifé in an evening of mystical music and dance with influences from Lebanon, India, North Africa and beyond, with poetry performances featuring The Forbidden poetry of Iran.
This is a fundraiser to benefit a new Middle Eastern/North Africa cultural arts center for peace, opening in Los Angeles in 2013. The event is presented by the Levantine Cultural Center, a 501 (c) 3 founded in 2001 that champions a greater understanding of the Middle East and North Africa by presenting arts and educational programs that help bridge political and religious divides.
Tony Khalifé, born in Beirut, raised during the civil war, a former child-soldier, is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and tabla player who strives to captivate his audience with a brilliant interweaving of Indian, Middle Eastern, Flamenco and Rock n Roll styles. His original blend of world music inspires a vision of global unity and peace. He will be joined by the brilliant percussionist, Alex Spurkel, and other guest artists, including poet Sholeh Wolpé and dancer/choreographer Rosa Rojas.
Sholeh Wolpé is an award-winning poet, literary translator and writer. Born in Iran, she has lived in England, Trinidad and the United States. She is the author of three collections of poems, Keeping Time With Blue Hyacinths (Univ. of Arkansas Press, March 2013), Rooftops of Tehran (Red Hen, 2008), and The Scar Saloon (Red Hen, 2004); an award-winning book of translations, Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad (Univ. of Arkansas Press, 2007); and two anthologies, The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and its Exiles (Michigan State University Press, 2012), and Breaking The Jaws of Silence Sixty American Poets Speak to the World (Univ. of Arkansas Press, March 2013).
Rosa Rojas unites the mystical roots of multiple dance and music disciplines of Central Asia into a simple but profound training aimed at opening the heart through rhythm, movement and sound. In the process, she explored Central Asian, Persian, Flamenco and Middle Eastern dance and music with several world masters Sharlyn Sawyer and Katarina Burda, among others, which, in 2006, culminated with an invitation to study and perform with Teatro Padida, Tajikistan's major dance company. There she was initiated into the connection between Sufism and the shamanic rites of Central Asia's vast inner realm. In 2010, Rosa returned to Los Angeles with the intention of founding her own dance company with world music and performance band, Califa.
The evening is hosted by Sheila Vossough, an Iranian-American actress living in Los Angeles. Since 1998, she has been touring internationally in plays written by contemporary Iranian playwrights and produced for Persian-speaking audiences living in exile. Since 2003, she has been an active member of the theatre company, Workshop '79, spearheaded by the renowned Iranian playwright, actor and director, Houshang Touzie, and actress Shohreh Aghdashloo. Her theater credits include Farar-e Bozorg (The Great Escape), Az Mahvareh Ba Eshgh (From Satellite With Love), When Hope Arrives, Matique, Jigsaw Nation, Baran-e Sang (The Rain of Stones), The Crucible, Bolbole Sargashte, The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, and comedy performances in the Los Angeles Middle Eastern Comedy Festival. She appeared as the Empress Farah Pahlavi in the film Liberation.
Alex Spurkel, a brilliant percussionist who performs in both Western and Non-Western traditions, particularly the Middle-Eastern doumbek and his unique brand of electronic drumming suited for various genres of dance music. Alex routinely dazzles his audiences with his dynamic style, explosive flare and razor sharp precision. Although he is well studied in several ethnic traditions, he is by no means a traditional player. Alex combines his Arabic as well as his African, Indian and Western percussion skills with his talent for electronic drumming and programming. The result is a sound that is extremely contemporary and exciting for young Western audiences, while still maintaining the respect and appreciation of more traditionally minded ethnic listeners. Alex is a truly unique drummer and musician.
Tickets are $40 preferred seating; $25 general seating. Space is limited. For reservations, call (323) 413-2001. The 1909 Sanctuary is located at 1909 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga Canyon CA 90290.