In a paean to peace, Angelenos of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds came together Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 as Levantine Cultural Center celebrated its eighth anniversary. The “Middle East Arts Festival for Peace”—a benefit for the center—included such performing artists as Tony Khalife from Lebanon, Mamak Khadem and Hamid Saeidi from Iran, and the Silk Road Music & Dance Ensemble, representing Turkey, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, with Serpil Borazon on vocals, Nyofu Tyson on saz, Neil Siegel on tar, and Robyn Friend on daf. Friend also performed a traditional dance from Uzbekistan. Kutsal, the indie rock singer from Istanbul, sang songs in both English and Turkish. Armenia’s folk/rock star, Gor Mkhitarian, whose latest album is Spirit, poured his heart into several songs in Armenian, while film composer and keyboardist Richard Horowitz ("The Sheltering Sky", "Any Given Sunday") played the ney in both Moroccan and Persian modes. Actress Shiva Rose from the film “David & Layla” read one of her own poems, and performing poet Niloufar Talebi of The Translation Project read in Farsi and English. The world electronica fusion group, Naked Rhythm, whose compositions can be found on Tanta Lounge and Buddha Bar compilations, raised the tempo of the night with percussive electronica in both Arab and Indian modes.