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Tirgan Iranian Arts & Culture Festival July 21 to 24 at Harbourfront, Toronto

From a media release:

Tirgan Iranian Festival
July 21-24, 2011 at Harbourfront, Toronto

Experience Iranian culture through dance, theatre, film, visual arts and more

TORONTO, ON (July, 2011) – Harbourfront Centre, along with its lead summer partner The Toronto Port Authority, proudly presents Tirgan Iranian Festival, a multi-disciplinary artistic and cultural festival that focuses on “Visions of Eternity,” asking artists, writers, and poets all over the world, “What do you deem eternal?” In a country yearning for change such as Iran, artists and writers transform old beliefs, understandings and representations through their artistic and literary creations by continually challenging them.

From July 21-24, Harbourfront Centre spectators are invited to celebrate Iranian culture with a multitude of world and Canadian premieres in traditional and contemporary styles of Iranian dance, music, theatre, literature, film, and visual arts.

Tirgan Iranian Festival has something for everyone including Golden Puppet Theatre with Vida Ghahremani. She recounts Fairy King’s Daughter, a story about a princess who falls in love with a commoner. Ghahremani also holds a workshop to teach children five to 12 years old to make a puppet and perform a show.

Harbourfront Centre’s nighttime visitors can enjoy Late Night Persian Jazz, a ticketed event ($25) featuring jazz-blues songstress Rana Farhan. Her songs meld 13th century poetry with American elements of blues and jazz.

Just as entertaining is Silk Road Dance Company, presenting the Canadian premiere of a repertoire of folkloric dances as well as a workshop in Persian dance. Their dancers have mastered a wide range of styles, including rare choreographies that are part of the company's “Legacy Repertoire.” The Silk Road Dance Company won the 2003 International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance Award for Best Dance Company.

Check the link for a full listing of events, including kid friendly activities, lectures, workshops and much more
• Call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. 
• Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay West in the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront.

Pardis International Orchestra (ticketed event - $25)
Thursday, July 21, 8:30 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Composer Hamid Motebassem is an established Persian musician all over the globe. The founder of Pardis International Orchestra, Motebassem presents his version of “Eternity” with the accompaniment of rising star vocalist, Salar Aghili. (pictured)

King Raam
Friday, July 22 & Saturday, July 23, 9 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

With compositions that are sometimes simplistic chords and others that are complex and symphonic, King Raam uses music as a means of expressing emotions and concepts that are often too deep to be expressed in words. (pictured left - by Tommaso Majonchi)

Sarv Ensemble
Friday, July 22, 9:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)

Drawing inspiration from classical and folk traditions across Iran, the Sarv Ensemble performs original works produced through improvisation and collective composition.

Shanbehzadeh Ensemble
Friday, July 22 & Saturday, July 23, 9:30 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Shanbehzadeh Ensemble offers a unique variety of hypnotic dancers and traditional music from southern Iran and more precisely from the unknown region of Boushehr.

Late Night Persian Jazz (ticketed event - $25)
Friday, July 22 & Saturday, July 23, 10:30 p.m. (Brigantine Room)

Rana Farhan, a jazz and blues singer, interprets Persian poetry from a musical perspective. She produces songs that bring together 13th century poets with the American elements of blues and jazz.

Radio Javan House DJ Music
Friday, July 22 & Saturday, July 23, 11:30 p.m. (Brigantine Room)

DJ Delbar has many years of experience spinning some of the best Persian, international and house music. One of the most sought-after DJs in Iranian culture, DJ Delbar keeps audiences moving all night long.

The Vesal Ensemble conducted by Arjang Seyfisadeh
Saturday, July 23, 1:30 p.m. (Brigantine Room)

The Vesal Ensemble, conducted by Arjang Seyfisadeh, was formed in 2000 and has performed traditional Persian music as well as Kurdish music in Iran, Iraq and Portugal, receiving widespread recognition and acclaim. (pictured)

Rising Talents: Saman Shahi, Maneli Jamal & Maryam Toumrai
Saturday, July 23, 1:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)

An Iranian-Canadian composer and pianist, Sman Shahi performs one of his compositions, “Arash,” with a string trio featuring two special guests. Award-winning solo acoustic guitarist Maneli Jamal creates a unique sound by combining Flamenco and Persian music, and with years of training in western classical singing, Iranian Canadian vocalist Maryam Tourmrai has been active in Toronto for over 20 years.

Sepideh Raissadat
Saturday, July, 23, 2 p.m. & Sunday, July 24, 1:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)

With her masterful voice, Sepideh Raissadat’s one-of-a-kind solo performance combines vocals and setar (Persian musical instrument).

Vahid Monji
Saturday, July 23, 2 p.m. & Sunday, July 24, 5 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Toronto-based singer, songwriter and musician Vahid Monji has collaborated with professional musicians such as Babak Amini, Shahriar Ghanbari and Andranik. Vahid Monji, alongside Aria Heidran and Artin Yeaneh, performs Persian pop music.

Baarbad Music
Saturday, July 23, 5:30 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

With new and interesting arrangements for each performance, Baarbad’s sound spans across many genres of musical cultures including classical Persian, central Asian folkloric and western classical.

Iranian National Choir
Sunday, July 24, 6 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Kamal Taravati founded the Iranian National Choir in 2007. The choir, composed of talented and enthusiastic university students, has since become a staple in the Iranian-Canadian artistic community for their performance of Persian music.


• Kurdish House Dance Group
Friday, July 22 & Saturday, July 23, 7:30 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Kurdish House Dance Group uses elegant and rhythmic movements called Halparke. These folkloric dance moves are one of the distinguishing characteristics of Kurd.

Les Ballets Persans: Ballet, Iranian Style
Friday, July 22 & Saturday, July 23, 7:30 p.m. (Fleck Dance Theatre)

The closure of the Iranian National Ballet after the 1979 revolution in Iran was a great loss to dancers, choreographers, and dance educators. In 2002, Nima Kiann founded Les Ballet Persans in Stockholm as the reincarnation of the former Iranian National Ballet. The company’s thematic repertoire ranges from classical ballets to neoclassical works and contemporary productions inspired equally by Iranian literary and spiritual masterpieces and current social issues. (pictured)

Silk Road Dance Company
Saturday, July 23 & Sunday, July 24, 3 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Pulling inspiration from both Persian and Turkish cultures, the Silk Road Dance Company has mastered a wide range of styles and rare choreographies. This is the Canadian premiere of their unforgettable repertoire of Persian folkloric dance.

Ida Saki
Saturday, July 23, 3:30 & 8:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)

Inspiring audiences with every performance, Ida Saki has received five national titles for her modern dance based on traditional Persian tales.


“Tall Shadows of the Wind” (Q&A with Director Bahman Farmanara)
Saturday, July 23, 5 p.m. (Studio Theatre)

Based on a short story, “Tall Shadows of the Wind” takes place in an isolated village in Iran where peasants assemble scarecrows to protect their crops. Driven by superstition, the scarecrows become metaphysical creatures that control the lives of the villagers (presented in Farsi with English subtitles).

“Death of the King”
Saturday, July 23, 9:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)

“Death of the King” takes place in 644 AD when the last emperor of Iran has fled the country, and has been killed by the owner of a mill. The miller, his wife and their ailing daughter give their account of the incident. Their stories become more than a murder trial, extending to views of an empire that has already collapsed from within (presented in Farsi with English subtitles).

“The White Meadows”
Sunday, July 24, 4 p.m. (Studio Theatre)

Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof, “The White Meadows” recounts the story of an elderly man who collects the tears of souls in pain. His encounters present an elegant, allegorical tale of persecution of artists and women, among others, for the choices they have made (presented in Farsi with English subtitles).


Heart to Heart: Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam, Sadreddin Zahed and Azizollah Bahadori
Friday, July 22, 8 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)

Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam, Sadreddin Zahed and Azizollah Bahadori have a conversation with the audience.

Zohreh and Monoochehr directed by Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam
Saturday, July 23, 2 p.m. & Sunday, July 24, 5 p.m. (Fleck Dance Theatre)

An official member of the Comédie Fançaise (The House of Molière), Moshkin Ghalam directs and acts in a musical comedy, Zohreh & Manoochehr, by Iraj Mirza. The cast includes two legendary figures of Iranian theatre, Sadreddin Zahed and Azizollah Bahadori.

Storytelling: Gordafarid
Saturday, July 23, 5:30 p.m. & Sunday, July 24, 1 p.m. (Brigantine Room)

One of the first female storytellers in Iran, Gordafarid has excelled in performing traditional narration of epic stories through 12 years of research, meticulous collection of narratives, and patiently following the footsteps of old masters of this ancient dramatic art. Gordafarid’s ability to capture the imagination of audiences has drawn large crowds to her numerous performances both inside Iran and abroad. (pictured above)


  1. Music is one the core essentials in our lives. No matter what background you come from there is a real good chance that music is all around you and in some way influences your life..


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