RICHARD HOROWITZ is internationally-known for creating a unique sonic language that fuses together his roots in classical, jazz and electronic music with the intensity of the keyboards, percussion and the ney. Since the late Sixties his compositions have been inspired by the ritual drama of ancient music and by the shadings, motifs and overtones of instruments and voices from the oldest cultures. He has worked with tribal, classical and popular musicians in Morocco and has collaborated with vocalist artist Sussan Deyhim since the early Eighties. Richard has scored many feature films including Bertolucci’s “The Sheltering Sky,” for which he received Golden Globe and Los Angeles Film Critics awards. He also scored Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday” among others. From 1968 to 1979 he lived in Paris and Morocco, where he studied Arabic, French, music and eastern philosophy. In 1997, Richard founded The Gnaoua (Gnawa) Festival in Mogador (Essaouira), Morocco with Neila Tazi and André Azoulay. He was instrumental in the career of Hassan Hakmoun and recorded with him on many albums. Recently Richard completed the scores for the films “Les Amants de Mogador” starring Max Von Sydow and “David and Layla” starring David Moscow and Shiva Rose. He continues to work with Sussan Deyhim on various projects including a new opera entitled “Zarathustra’s Mother.”
AL-FAREED (deejay) currently podcasts his own show, Radio Al-Fareed, Music of the Arab and Islamic World, at levantinecenter.org. The eclectic Al-Fareed aka Alfred Madain is a deejay, musician and ethnomusicologist in Los Angeles. A walking encyclopedia of traditional, folkloric and contemporary music of the Arab/Islamic world and Africa, he intimately “gets” and analyzes music ranging from ancient traditions to modern world techno, hip hop, western new wave, heavy metal and punk. Al-Fareed’s attuned feel for rock gives him the ability to reflect on the west from an eastern perspective and on the east from a western perspective. As a music historian he can explain the history and influence of ziryab (a musician of the Baghdadi and Andalusian courts) as well as the history and influence of Woody Guthrie, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Black Flag, Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Velvet Underground and more.
KUTSAL is an indie rock singer from Istanbul who writes songs from within. With her bold lyrics she strives to be an artist who brings honesty and truth to everything she does. Kutsal has been singing all her life but started working with bands when she was 16. Since then, she sang at dozens of rock clubs across Turkey. She released her Turkish album “Cirilciplak” in April 2008 and her English album “Naked” in March 2008. Since then she’s been touring in Turkey and the U.S. Music Connection wrote: “The unbridled emotion and dark psychological overtones that fuel this artist’s music may elicit comparisons to Evanescence, Alanis Morisette and maybe PJ Harvey, but Kutsal is exploring a realm all her own.” Visit kutsal.net.
GOR MKHITARIAN Gor’s emergence reflects the very best of the burgeoning music scene now taking hold in the independent former Soviet Republic of Armenia. Widely known throughout Armenia as the lead guitarist for one of country's best rock bands, Lav Eli, Mkhitarian launched his solo career in 2001 and has released six albums since. Being nominated for a total of eleven industry music awards, he makes fresh and compelling music that successfully fuses traditional Armenian music with both rock and folk idioms. In his music, Mkhitarian makes a case for writing the next chapter in Armenia's rich musical history by updating the sound and feel of the classic Armenian folk song. Visit gormusic.com.
MAMAK KHADEM was the lead vocalist of the popular world music group Axiom of Choice and has embarked on her own solo career. By occupation, she is a bridge, one that connects geography to lore. In music, she is open to cultural influences, but she has chosen the classical Persian style as her base. She was born in Iran, at a time when tides were changing. She was part of the Children's Choir for National Radio and Television of Iran, but it wasn't until the late 1970s and after the Iranian Revolution of 1979 that her passion for singing waxed. Inspired by works of master musicians in the 1980s, she seized every opportunity to further her vocal art, regularly back to Iran to study with some of the finest Persian vocalists and masters. She benefited from classical Indian singing tradition at Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in northern California and from Bulgarian chore of Nevenka while exploring the traditional music of Greece, Turkey, and Armenia. Her new album is “Jostojoo.” She performs here with Hamid Saeedi and Nyofu Tyson. Visit mamak-khadem.com.
NAKED RHYTHM was born in Los Angeles in 2003 as a collaborative effort between Avi Sills and Alex Spurkel with a vision of breaking down borders and bringing the world together with cross-cultural music and dance. By fusing exotic world music and percussion with contemporary electronic dance grooves, Naked Rhythm captivates Western audiences with the universal language of rhythm and sounds of the Middle East, India, Africa, and South America. The result is an innovative and organic form of World electronica that moves the heart as well as the hips. Their debut album Frequency was released worldwide in July 2006 by Caravan Records, and their tracks have already been featured on more than 10 compilations including Tantra Lounge vol 3 & 4 and the upcoming Buddha Bar vol 9. Their capitivating live shows featuring numerous world musicians, dancers, and visuals have entertained such stars as Sting, Robert Downey Jr., Diana Ross, and The Black Eyed Peas. Alex Spurkel, a diverse producer and percussionist, has toured the world as a cutting-edge electronic/world drummer for acclaimed electronica pioneers, Electric Skychurch. Avi Sills has toured the world as the drummer for numerous artists, and studied at the prestigious Berklee College Of Music. His diverse list of credits include Red Elvises, Bob Dylan, Robert Cray, and Adam Sandler; Film/TV: Six String Samurai, Oprah Winfrey, Melrose Place, Penn & Teller, and many more. "Naked Rhythm is globalization at its most positive...a vibrant tapestry that inter-connects the world's music and rhythms in ways previously unimaginable." — Allmusic.com. Visit nakedrhythm.com.
NILOUFAR TALEBI is a writer, editor, award-winning translator, filmmaker, producer and theater artist. She founded and directs the Translation Project, whose mission is to bring contemporary Iranian literature to wide audiences. She edited and translated BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World (North Atlantic Books 2008) and created the multimedia theater pieces, Four Springs and ICARUS/RISE, as well as a DVD of short films, Midnight Approaches, all based on new Iranian poetry. Niloufar took a BA in Comparative Literature from UC Irvine and an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College. She studied acting with Jean Shelton and Cyril Clayton in San Francisco. Visit her sites at niloufartalebi.com and thetranslationproject.org.
PERFORMING TOGETHER in a rich showcase concert of Turkish music and Central Asian dance by Robyn Friend are Nyofu Tyson on saz, Serpil Borazon on vocals, and Neil Siegel on tar and ney. Robyn Friend also accompanies on daf. Nyofu Tyson heads up his own ensemble mixing Turkish, Middle Eastern and flamenco styles , called the iST/West Ensemble. Visit sazplayer.com. Robyn Friend and Neil Siegel have been performing together for thirty years and have their own group, the Silk Road Music and Dance Ensemble. Visit robynfriend.com.
TONY KHALIFE is a child of war. His music is a soulful blend of Middle Eastern, flamenco and Indian folk & world styles and grew out of his Lebanese upbringing, his travels and the new life he carved for himself in Southern California. Raised in Beirut during the civil war that raged there 1975-1991, Khalife is a musician, singer, songwriter, composer, yogi, artist, teacher, child-soldier, messenger of love and peace. His mission is to raise the world’s vibration through music—to be the rose growing among the ruins, the smile through the tears, and the melody of peace overpowering the guns of war. Visit tonykhalife.com.
ADAM BASMA DANCE COMPANY Based in Los Angeles, the company has performed for concerts, weddings, parties and special events since 1973. Founder and Artistic Director Adam Basma has researched Middle Eastern folkloric music, dance, costumes and traditions by traveling, residing and studying in many different countries. The company brings to life on stage the rich tapestry of color, music and history of traditional folk and native dances of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Morocco and Algeria. Acknowledging the importance of authenticity in art, Adam has also collected the largest and most diverse selection of traditional attire and props available today; many of the pieces being over 100 years old. The company has grown to include as Middle Eastern dances. Visit adambasma.com.
On Saturday, May 23, 2009, “One Hundred and One Levantine Delights: A Middle Eastern Festival of Arts for Peace” will mark the start of LCC’s eighth year. This magical afternoon and evening will be an unforgettable experience featuring music, dance, spoken word, a hookah lounge, fortune telling and special booths—a kind of Middle Eastern/North African extravaganza in the spirit of the annual Renaissance Pleasure Faire. Attendees are encouraged to arrive dressed in traditional/ethnic attire.
The event is a tribute to the late Walter Marks, Jr., a humanitarian and philanthropist who supported progressive causes in Israel, the Occupied Territories and the Arab world, and who funded a local interfaith program, organized by the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Progressive Jewish Alliance, called New Ground, which brought together Muslim and Jewish youth with leadership qualities. Marks, who died April 13, 2009, was a staunch supporter of Levantine Cultural Center’s progressive approach to intercultural-interfaith relations. He also supported Liberty Hill, the ACLU and numerous other progressive NGOs in the U.S.
Since 2001, Levantine Cultural Center (LCC) has been the place in Los Angeles to find public arts programs on Israelis and Palestinians, Iraq, Iran and North Africa; it has been a rallying point for the Arab/Muslim world to see itself reflected accurately and for the most part, positively, through world-class literary, visual and performing arts programs. Using cultural diplomacy that emphasizes the importance of interfaith relationships, the center presents programs and education to a broad range of constituents in Southern California—to Americans of all cultural backgrounds.
Performers on May 23rd include composer/keyboardist Richard Horowitz (“The Sheltering Sky”), Armenian folk/rock singer Gor Mkhitarian, the Adam Basma Dance Company performing Lebanese debke), Shiva Rose (“David & Layla”), Tony Khalife, Naked Rhythm, Niloufar Talebi and other special guests. The event is emceed by Iranian American film and theatre star Fariborz Davoodian (“The 99 Cent Family”) and benefits Levantine Cultural Center a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Read more about the performers and artists below.
Sponsor Table (10 guests) $1,000 (preferred seating and a special gift included).
VIP Sponsor Tickets, $250 per couple (preferred seating and a special gift included).
Supporter Tickets, $100 per person
Student Tickets, $50 per person (limited number available).
If you are unable to attend but wish to support Levantine Cultural Center, please click here to donate online, or post your tax-deductible contribution to:
Levantine Cultural Center, 5998 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90035-3657.
Space is limited. Purchase tickets above or for more information or tickets by phone, call 310.657.5511 or 310.657.5522.
FARIBORZ (emcee) Popular Iranian-American actor, writer, producer, radio and television host, Fariborz Davoodian otherwise known in Hollywood as David Diaan is the founder of Sublime Entertainment and Adam Films.
He was the producer and star of the extremely popular theatrical plays of Liquid Productions and “The 99 Cent Family” which enjoyed sold out performances nationwide. He wrote, produced and directed the heartwarming documentary, “Iran Is My Home.” David also starred in and co-produced the film “American So Beautiful” directed by Babak Shokrian, which premiered at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival.
He is also the executive producer of the feature film “The Dog Walker,” winner of Best First Feature at the 2002 Cinequest Film Festival. Most recently, he produced and starred in the feature film, “Otis E.,” which premiered in May at the 3rd annual NOOR film festival. He also played the role of Mayor Ebrahim in the controversial film, “The Stoning of Soraya M.,” to be released June 6, 2009. He is currently in pre-production on a feature called "The Apology," based on a screenplay that was the 1st prize winner of the Slamdance Screenplay competition.
Shiva Rose starred in “David and Layla,” which has toured the Hampton Film festival, Philadelphia Film Festival and the Jerusalem Festival this summer. Her portrayal of the Kurdish refugee Layla has received great notice. She won “Best Breakthrough Performance in An American Indie” award at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. She has also appeared in the Fox feature "The First 20 Million," HBO’s "61" directed by Billy Crystal, and Slamdance hit "Black Days." Other features include "Red Roses" and "Petrol" with Malcolm McDowell and "Silent Madness-Hollywood Babylon" in which Shiva plays the legendary silent screen star ‘Louise Brooks.
Her television credits include “Las Vegas”, “The Division”, and “The Practice”. Most recently she appeared on CSI Miami as the reoccurring character Sonya.
Shiva is quite passionate about the theater and has appeared on stage in numerous productions such as the Pacific Resident Theatre’s award winning production of “The Swan” and “Necessary Target” by Eve Ensler. Her favorite theater credits include: Hennie in “Awake and Sing”, Therese in “Therese Raquin”, Joan in Caryl Churchull’s “Far Away”. She has also worked at The Berkshire Theatre Festival, The Roundabout Theater in New York and recently The Mark Taper Forum. In 2008 she appeared as Antonia in The Rubicon Theater’s production of My Antonia directed by Scott Schwartz. She has just finished writing a play about photographer Tina Modotti that will be premiering in 2009.
Shiva spends her free time as a volunteer for various social causes. She is very active with numerous charities such as V-Day, created to end violence against women. She also created a program called Resource that fed the homeless, which she launched while attending college at UCLA. She is a sponsor for VIP, which helps abused children and volunteers at CCFA (Caring For Children With AIDS). She has also worked for Amnesty International’s Refugee Program.