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LAWRENCE HELMAN  PUBLIC RELATIONS – E  MAIL – lhelman//at//sbcglobal.net

Tel. 415 /661- 1260 / Cell. 415/ 336- 8220 (DO NOT PUBLISH THIS #)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 4, 2015 – REV. Sept. 21, 2015

For press materials and hi-res color press photos, visit:

http://iranican.com/neekon/press/

Iranican Inc. presents…The First Biannual

NeekOn*

A ONE-DAY EVENT – to Inspire Kindness through the Arts

– Connecting Our Communities with

LIVE MUSIC, DANCE, VISUAL ARTS,
and FOOD from Multiple Cultures

and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Building Activities

Sat. Sept.  26, 2015 — 11:00 am – 5:30 pm

2 Venues in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco

– Bandshell  Music Concourse Drive

– Koret Auditorium – de Young Museum

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

All Outdoor events FREE.

2 Indoor shows are paid ticketed events

http://iranican.com/neekon

Facebook: https://fb.com/events/557837754348382/

Trailer: https://youtu.be/RI6IhiHyhS8

“Neek” means kindness in Persian. To “Neek” on is to spread Kindness on.

NeekOn means those who possess the quality of “Neek”.

We’re committed to attracting & growing that in ourselves & our community!

Iranican Inc. presents…The first annual NeekOn – Sat. Sept. 26, 2015 – 11:00 am – 5:30 pm –A one day event to cultivate cultural awareness, and a spirit of kindness through giving and contribution of our communities.
NeekOn will be held at 2 Venues in Golden Gate Park in SF

– Bandshell – Music Concourse Drive (outdoors)

– Koret Auditorium – de Young Museum – (indoors) 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, SF, CA 94118

NeekOn will feature Live Music, Dance (including a Persian Folklore Dance Flash Mob), Visual Arts, and Food from multiple cultures around the world. (Neek means kindness.) In addition there will be free workshops and leadership building activities to foster Emotional Intelligence (EQ) that promotes giving, inspires community collaboration and connectedness. It is an opportunity for all ages to participate, enjoy the day filled with events, and learn from others within the community. The organizers putting this event together are mostly Iranian Americans who are dedicated to inspiring our local communities and expanding awareness though arts and culture. The Performers are those picked on the basis that their music/art/life represents the spirit of giving.

A dazzling array of artists, musicians, dancers, food stars and more from the Iranian/Persian and International communities will come together and bring their talents for an entertaining day located at two venues in Golden Gate Park: – Outdoors at the Band Shell, and Indoors at the Koret Auditorium in the de Young Museum – 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118. Most events are FREE and family friendly. Two indoor shows – Sina Sarlak & Nava Ensemble (11:00 am – Noon) and Bahram Beyzaei (Noon – 1:30 pm) are paid ticketed events.
Tix: http://iranican.com/neekon

A sample of the artist displaying their crafts will include: Indian/Persian Calligraphy; Persian Carpet Weaving Workshop; Recycled Paper Origami; and more TBA. Food vendors will include: Saffron Catering -(kabob, joojeh (BBQ Chicken), shuarma, falafel, ash reshteh (Persian Soup), tea); Bita’s Touch – Baghlavah, kooloocheh, cookies, cupcakes; Golnazar – Persian ice cream. More TBA.

To arrange an interview with the NeekOn organizers, or any of the performers, please call or e mail publicist Lawrence Helman 415/ 661-1260   lhelman@sbcglobal.net

Artists scheduled to perform are:

Indoor Performances in Koret Auditorium – de Young Museum

* Sina Sarlak & Nava Ensemble (Amir Nojan, Saeed Kamjoo, Sina Dehghani)

Sina Sarlak – Popular Iranian vocalist & musician

Nava Ensemble – Young musicians play the great Persian Classical pieces

TICKETS: $15 – 25 http://iranican.com/neekon/events/sina-sarlak-nava-ensamble/

– * Bahram Beyzaei will be introducing the play “1001st Night” that he wrote.
His wife Mojdeh Shamsaei will act the play by herself – playing all of the characters. The play will be performed in Persian (no English subtitles.) After the performance they will have a Q & A with the audience.
-“1001st Night” is the story of Jam’s two imprisoned daughters, Shahrnaz and Arnavaz, who keep Zahak busy for 1000 nights, until saviors finally arrive! Based on a story from “1001 Arabian Nights”.

Bahram Beyzaei is one of Iran’s most acclaimed filmmakers, playwrights, and scholars of the history of Iranian theater, both secular and religious. At Stanford U. as a Visiting Professor of Persian Studies.

TICKETS: $35 – 47

http://iranican.com/neekon/events/bahram-beyzaei1/

– Pezhham Akhavass and Diana Rowan – Free event

Pezhham Akhavass – is a world class percussionist, Global Music Director of SF World Music Festival, and modern day virtuoso of Persian percussive instruments Tombak and Daf.

Diana Rowan – award-winning harpist.

– EQ (Emotional Intelligence) – The entire event is planned and executed to Inspire Kindness, or in other terms to show by example that it’s possible to perceive our world as abundant and act from a place of choice. This choice is the cause for collaborations, contributions and connections among individuals and communities, and through the EQ events which also include workshops, the team has created intellectual and emotional experiences to facilitate this journey.

– EQ Activities:

– A live gratitude mural painting guided by a professional mural artist inviting community members to express what they are grateful about on the wall, calligraphy workshop of Persian and Sanskrit; carpet waving workshop; recycled paper origami workshop and more!

– EQ Activities for Children:

  • Henna tattoo artist; Inflatable house; painting workshop, plus more!
  • Outdoor Performances in Bandshell – Music Concourse Drive – FREE

Kabir Singh – Comic – will MC the Outdoor Stage

– Mahali Dance Flash Mob (Persian Folklore)

A colorful collaboration of Community Dance Groups performing Iranian regional folk dances. Includes Niosha Dance AcademyBeshkan Dance Academy & dancers from the Bay Area. Organized by the Ballet Afsaneh Dance Academy.

– Hoss Zare – Hosting a Cooking Demonstration & Contest.

– Celebrity Iranian Chef & Owner of Fly Trap Restaurant in SF

– Ballet Afsaneh – Persian classical / contemporary

  • Bay Area Dance company performs folkloric and classical art forms of Iran, TajikistanAfghanistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, China and India.

– Rana Mansour and Karmandan

Rana Mansour – Famed Persian vocalist – VH1 Song of the Year finalist

Karmandan – musicians of different backgrounds / ethnicities led by Erwin Khachikian.

– La Tania Baile Flamenco School & Company with special guest soloist Melissa Cruz

La Tania is recognized worldwide as a dancer, choreographer and master teacher in Flamenco. Her SF school is highly regarded worldwide. (La Tania won’t be performing.)

Performance Schedule:

Indoor Performances in Koret Auditorium – de Young Museum

* Ticketed Event. Tix at http://iranican.com/neekon

*11:00 am – Noon – Sina Sarlak & Nava Ensemble (Amir Nojan, Saeed Kamjoo, Sina Dehghani)

TICKETS: $15 – 25  http://iranican.com/neekon/events/sina-sarlak-nava-ensamble/

*12:30 – 2:00 pm – Bahram Beyzaei’s “1001st Night” Play reading by Mojdeh Shamsaei (90 mins)

TICKETS: $35 – 47  http://iranican.com/neekon/events/bahram-beyzaei1/

2:30 – 3:00 pm – Pezhham and Diana Rowan – Free event

3:00 – 4:15 pm – EQ Workshops – Free event

– EQ Activities:

– A live gratitude mural painting guided by a professional mural artist inviting community members to express what they are grateful about on the wall, calligraphy workshop of Persian and Sanskrit; carpet waving workshop; recycled paper origami workshop and more!

– EQ Activities for Children:

  • Henna tattoo artist; Inflatable house; painting workshop, plus more!

The EQ team is a group of volunteers who will be conducting activities to engage and inform attendees about emotional intelligence

  • * Ticketed event – http://iranican.com/neekon

Outdoor Performances in Bandshell – Music Concourse Drive – FREE

Kabir Singh – Comic – will MC the Outdoor Stage

12:30 -12:45 pm  Introduction

12:45 – 1:00 Dance: – Mahali Dance Flash Mob (Persian Folklore)

1:00 – 1:45  Hoss Zare – Hosting a Cooking Demonstration & Contest.

1:45 – 2:00 Dance: Ballet Afsaneh – Persian classical/ contemporary

2:15 – 3:00  Rana Mansour and Karmandan

3:00 – 3:15 Dance: – La Tania Baile Flamenco School & Company

with special guest soloist Melissa Cruz

4:00 – 4:45  TBD

5:00 – 5:30  Fogo Na Roupa –Drumming ensemble.

Please check website http://iranican.com/neekon for info and performer updates and any time changes.

Producer History:

Iranican Inc. – Volunteer run non profit http://www.iranican.com

Iranican is an all-volunteer organization founded by students and college graduates in 2005 to inspire communities and expand awareness through informative entertainment. IranicanTM is a 501(c) 3 non-profit, volunteer organization in the USA, (operating in SF Bay Area, and DC) and features the following:

Sedaye Iranican

A radio talk-show that explores a host of cultural issues from various perspectives, Bound by no rules and no agenda, on-air personalities can be heard weekly on podcast here or on Radio Javan.

Iranican Reports
Video segments featuring major cultural events and festivals in cities across the North American continent including Berkeley, SF, LA, and Toronto.

Performer Bios:

Indoor Performers – Koret Auditorium – de Young Museum

SINA SARLAK & NAVA ENSEMBLE

It’s the first time these four artists will have come together to play!

Sina Sarlak -Vocal, He started singing as a child and was only 7 years old when he first sang in one of the national TV series. Since then he started music and singing seriously and passionately. He learned complete percussion (Tombak) lessons with Jamshid Mohebbi and continued professionally for 6 years with the Great Master of Tombak Naser Farhangfar. He has won many first place awards at festivals for his singing and percussion performances. He has also studied with the Great Master of vocal Mr. Mohammadreza Shajarian during his training to become a professional vocalist. He spent years of learning (Tar) another music instrument with Master Keyvan Saket. He performs concerts around the world and recorded 27 albums with various composers and bands.

NAVA ENSEMBLE Players

Saeed Kamjoo-Kamancheh, born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran, is a Persian musician and composer. He started learning kamancheh at the age of 17 under the supervision of Ardeshir Kâmkâr. He furthered his studies in the instrumental and vocal repertoires of Classical Persian music under the guidance of such renowned masters as Ali Akbar Shekârchi and Ustad Asghar Bahâri. He is a graduate of Music department from Tehran University. His approach to playing kamancheh is based on his perception of the values in classical Persian music. Although his music has its roots in Classical Persian music, he allows himself to explore new musical styles. Kamjoo moved to Montreal in 1997 and has been collaborating with various ensembles in Canada, the USA and Europe. He has recorded many albums and performed in numerous music festivals around in Canada, the USA, Mexico, U.K, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Greece, Turkey and Hong Kong. Saeed Kamjoo has also performed as a guest artist with Dastan Ensemble, one of the most renowned Persian musical groups. His composition for string quartet and vocal based on poetry of Omar Khayyám (12th c.) was played in Toronto in 2012.

Arjang Faramarzi-Tombak, In 1976, Arjang was born in a family who was interested in music and highly appreciated it. The sound of the tar of his brother, Arash, who was one of the Master Houshang Zarif’s students, his parents’ encouragements, and also his persistence were reasons that made Arjang to be absorbed into the land of music. Around age of 11, Arjang began playing tombak under supervision of Late Master Naser Farhangfar, the poet and the genius in tombak, at Zoroastrian Youths Organization (Faravahar). Arjang enjoyed the valuable time of the sessions with Master Farhanfar till the last moments of Master’s life, and later he continued to improve his techniques supervised by Arash Farhangfar, the Master’s son. Arjang also learned playing barbat (oud) from Hossein Behrouzinia. He also completed Harmonic course presented by  Mohsen Elhamian. Arjang has B.Sc in medical-engineering.

Amir Nojan-Setar was born in Shiraz, Iran in 1980.  He is a Persian classical musician best known for his skills at playing Setar, a Persian lute.  He is also known for his comprehensive knowledge of Persian traditional/classical repertoire known as “Radif”. He started studying the traditional Persian music at the age of 12 and he has benefited from the teachings of great masters of Persian music such as Ustad Dariush Talaei, Ustad Jalal Zolfonoon and Ustad Mohammad Reza Lotfi. While still in Iran, he established and directed “Nava Ensemble” in 1998 and has continued that work in the USA. Amir has played concerts in Iran, Europe and the USA as a composer, soloist, improviser and ensemble player. Amir has collaborated with renowned musicians such as Alim Qasimov and Shahram Nazeri at Stanford University, where in 2011 he gave a lecture on “The History of Setar and its significant role in the Iranian classical music. In 2012, Amir founded the first professional academy for the teaching of Persian music and arts named “Shiraz Arts Academy” in Northern CA (San Jose).

Bahram Beyzaie is one of Iran’s most acclaimed filmmakers, playwrights, and scholars of the history of Iranian theater, both secular and religious. He was a leader of the generation of filmmakers known as the Iranian New Wave, beginning in the late 1960s, and has since directed more than a dozen prize-winning films. In 1968 he was one of the first ones to join the controversial Iranian Writer’s Guild (Kanun-e Nevisandegan-e Iran). He started his film career with a successful short named “Uncle Mustache” (Amoo Sibiloo) in 1970. Immediately after that he directed and produced his masterpiece “Downpour” (Ragbaar) with the late Parviz Fannizadeh as its main character. Since then he has produced and directed 8 other movies and has made significant contribution to the development of cinema and theatre in Iran. Despite his popularity and knowledge, Bayzai has never been successful in gaining the support of the government, neither before nor after the revolution. After close to 20 years, two of his films “Death of Yazdgerd” and “Ballad of Tara” have still not been able to receive a screening permit. Both movies have been shelved due to the fact that they are not in accordance with the Islamic code currently in use in Iranian motion picture industry. “Bashu, the Little Stranger” was going to be his third film to be shelved but it finally got a screening permit after the end of Iran-Iraq war. The movie is about a little boy who has lost his home and family to the war. His last movie “The Travellers” was practically destroyed after censors cut out about 30 minutes of the movie. He is breaking his silence after seven years with a group work called “Stories of Kish” which consists of seven episodes

He has also conducted pioneering research into the roots of ancient legends derived from Indo-Iranian mythology and known collectively as A Thousand and One Nights. He is that rare artist who is also an erudite critic and scholar of his myriad crafts.

Born in Tehran, Beyzaie was for many years the head of the Theatre Arts Department at Tehran University. His two-volume study of the history of Iranian theatre is still considered the authoritative account of this history. Since his arrival at Stanford he has staged several of his plays and given workshops on Iranian mythology and cinema. He currently teaches courses on Iranian theatre and cinema. Title/Position: Lecturer, Stanford Program in Iranian Studies.

Pezhham Akhavass is a world class percussionist, Global Music Director of San Francisco World Music Festival, and modern day virtuoso of Persian percussive instruments Tombak and Daf. Born in 1980 in Iran into the artistic Akhavass family, with the support of his renowned father Mostafa, Pezhham began studying Tombak at the age of 5. In addition to Tombak and Daf, Pezhham is knowledgeable about Setar, Tanbour and Oud, and has studied other percussion instruments including: Indian Tabla with the guidance of Ostad Zakir Hussain. Earned his BA from Sureh University, Tehran. He has toured and performed extensively at notable festivals and in prestigious venues throughout Iran, Turkey, Europe, USA, Australia, and Asia, performing with world master musicians such as YoYo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, and Diana Rowan. Pezhham has worked with the top names in Persian music, including Shahram Nazeri, Hossein Alizadeh, Aliakbar Moradi, Saeid Farajpouri, and Hossein Omomi. Pezhham teaches and gives lectures and demonstrations in Persian music and performance. He is currently studying music at SF State University. www.pezhham.com

Diana Rowan is an award-winning musical artist currently performing worldwide and recording both independently and in collaboration with other musicians, Diana Rowan’s playing and compositions have unusual power and beauty derived from her ability to integrate the musical traditions of the many countries in which she has lived and traveled. Born in Ireland as the child of an Irish diplomat, Diana has performed all over the world, including the East Coast, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Diana’s 30 year performance career reaches worldwide from the World Harp Congress in Australia, to Washington DC’s Smithsonian Institution, to the US Embassy in Vietnam, to Eastern European cathedrals. She can be heard on many CDs and soundtracks for film and TV, including the recently released first-ever Celtic harp and Persian percussion fusion album with tombak master Pezhham Akhavass, entitled “The Sky at Dawn”. Based in the Bay Area, Diana holds a PhD in Music Theory plus an MM in Piano Performance. Diana teaches and presents workshops and lectures worldwide. Diana believes strongly in the healing power of music and plays often in hospitals and healing centers via her company Sage Harpists.

Outdoor Performances in Bandshell – Music Concourse Drive – FREE

Kabir Singh – Comic – will MC the Outdoor Stage

– Gabriel Iglesias’s Stand-Up Revolution on “Comedy Central”

– Fox’s Hit show “The Family Guy”

– 2014 winner of the San Francisco Int’l. Comedy Competition 

– Int’l. Comedy Showcase on the “BBC Network”

Kabir Singh is fresh off his Comedy Central debut on the hit show Gabriel Iglesias’s Stand-Up Revolution.
A high-energy, crowd-pleasing comic with an in-your-face attitude and razor-sharp wit, Kabeezy has won numerous comedy competitions, including winning the 39th Annual SF Int’l. Comedy Competition by taking first place in all five shows in the final round. Kabir’s feat was the first time that has happened in the competition’s rich 39-year history which included past competitors Dane Cook, Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Ellen, Sinbad, Louis CK and many more top comedian stars. 

Kabir Singh can also be seen headlining clubs and colleges all over the USA. Headlining full weekends at some of the top comedy clubs around including the Sacrmaneto Punchline, San Jose Improv, El Paso Comic Strip Comedy Club, Sold out shows at the Laugh Factory in Long Beach and Hollywood, CA, Denver Improv and over 50 colleges nationwide. 

Kabir will also be heard doing voice-over work on the 2015 season of Fox’s hit show “The Family Guy”. With int’l. appearances on  “The Starz Network, ” BBC Network”, “TV Asia” and another upcoming “Comedy Central” appearance It is safe to say that catching Kabir now on the way up will be good for you wallet in the near future! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0oSCC4VLUE

Persian Folklore Dance Flash Mob

A colorful collaboration of Community Dance Groups performing Iranian regional folk dances. Includes Niosha Dance AcademyBeshkan Dance Academy & dancers from the Bay Area. Organized by the Ballet Afsaneh Dance Academy.

The Niosha Dance Academy, founded by Niosha Nafei in 1991, preserves, produces, and performs traditional and contemporary dances from the Iranian/Persian cultural world. They offer classes for individuals interested in learning these dances, and performs for the Iranian American community, and represents that community in dance performances in the wider American community, and in international venues. Through its classes and performances, they provide information and education about Iranian culture, tradition, and history, to the Iranian American community and serves as a cultural representation of that community. They create a platform for aspiring talent, young and the young at heart to receive structured dance training in various styles of traditional and modern Persian dance as well as belly dancing. Niosha Dance Academy performs throughout the USA at cultural arts festivals, local community events, as well as producing their own annual performance in the Bay Area, and strives to maintain and enhance the awareness of Persian dance and culture.

Beshkan Dance Academy was established in 2003 with the goal of expressing to and educating the community about the splendid Persian culture through the art of dance. BDA was introduced to the community with a grand opening at Dance Attack Studios in Sunnyvale, CA. BDA was created by individuals whose love, devotion, and experience for their heritage sparked the desire to educate others about the Iranian culture.

Chef Hoss Zaré is a celebrity Iranian chef & owner of Fly Trap Restaurant in SF. Hoss Zaré grew up on his family’s century old farms in Tabriz, Iran. In 1986, after completing mandatory service in the Iranian Air Force, he emigrated to SF where his older brother owned and operated the iconic Billboard Café. In 1989, while enrolled as a pre-med student at UC Davis, he would drive to and from The City to work as a line cook at the historic Fly Trap Restaurant. It was there that owner Walter Zolezzi and Chef Craig Thomas mentored Zaré to the rank of Executive Chef. Over a 25 year career, Chef Hoss Zaré has established a loyal following while at the helm of several restaurants including Aromi, Zaré Sacramento, and Bistro Zaré. After a stint in the Napa Valley, fate would bring him back to the restaurant where his culinary journey began. Chef Hoss Zaré became owner of The Fly Trap Restaurant in 2008. Only then did he truly begin to draw from the flavors and memories of his childhood. Known for his over the top sense of hospitality – often embracing guests with Hossy-Hugs – he is the force that pumps life into the team. He has received many awards and has been the subject of several publications. Currently, he is at work on a memoir and recipe book dedicated to his parents. Hoss was selected to be at NeekOn because of his many contributions to the community. Whether it’s a charity for kids, local issues or any other, Hoss has one way or another been on the scene with his support.

Ballet Afsaneh* – is a Bay Area – Performance Company founded in 1986 that melds ancient art forms with modern dance and theater in an unprecedented, richly imagistic approach – Drawing on cultural heritage to create performance work that resonates with universal ideas. From glittering fairytale to cutting edge, thought provoking work, Ballet Afsaneh performances provide an eloquent testament to the diverse expressive arts of Central Asia and beyond. During its 30 year evolution they have earned a reputation for their artistic innovations and inspired theatrical creativity. The company’s work is informed by a traditional performance repertory which includes the folkloric and classical art forms of Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, China and India.  (*Afsaneh – from the Persian, Turkish and Urdu languages: “myth”, “legend”, “history”, “fairytale.”)

Rana Mansour, a rising star, has been featured as the highlight performer on Manoto TV’s annual Persian New Year program a program that typically receives over 50 million viewers. The music video for her song, “Shohare Pooldar” (Rich Husband), was nominated for Best Short Film during the 7th Annual Farhang Foundation Film Festival. She cowrote and contributed piano and vocals for the film, “Beyond Paradise”. In 2005, she was a finalist in the Adult Contemporary category for the VH1 Song of the Year competition for her song, “Leaving Home.” Rana has been seen on the hit Bravo show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, performing her original song, “No Place Like Home”. She was the featured voice for the theme song for the cartoon, “Lili and Lola”, singing in both English and Farsi. Rana can sing in 7 different languages and her latest video, “Yeraz”, is her first time singing in Armenian.

Karmandan – In a world where the headlines on the news are filled with conflicts between different cultures and races, the band KARMANDAN unites musicians of different backgrounds and ethnicities. The band creator and musical director Erwin Khachikian, an Armenian Iranian, saxophonist Joel Nuñez from Cuba, bassist Daniele De Cario from Italy, and drummer Fernando Jaramillo from Chile come together on one stage to play in unison and harmony.

La Tania Baile Flamenco School & Company (La Tania will not be performing.)

The La Tania Baile Flamenco Company & School was founded in 2007 by award winning and internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer La Tania. Focused on the deep roots, rhythms and fluidity of traditional flamenco, the mission of the company is to share the authentic beauty and power that is the art of flamenco music and dance, with audiences everywhere. Nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Ensemble Performance for the 2012 presentation of Despertar Es Un Color, the La Tania Baile Flamenco Company & School has presented as a featured group in such venues as the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, City Dance Onstage, The Rotunda Dance Series presented by World Arts West and Dancers’ Group, Fiesta Flamenca and the annual showcase of Punta y Tacon.

Melissa Cruz (special guest soloist with La Tania Baile Flamenco School & Company)
Melissa Cruz is a Bay Area-based flamenco artist and instructor. Garnering years of experience as a company dancer and soloist, she presented her own production in 2007, La Vida Flamenca, in both San Francisco and Houston, Texas. She regularly performs in the local flamenco cabaret circuit and has served as Adjunct Dance Faculty at The University of San Francisco, as a guest instructor at the world dance youth program DanceVersity, as a soloist in the 2012 San Francisco International Arts Festival and has presented in seven San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festivals; in 2010 and 2011, as a featured soloist. She was commissioned to present a solo representing the genre of flamenco in the 2013 San Francisco Isadora Duncan Awards Ceremony and was a featured artist in the 2014 Tucson Flamenco Festival. http://melissacruz.weebly.com

Fogo Na Roupa  – Founded in 1989 by Mestre Carlos Aceituno, Fogo Na Roupa is a Bay Area, award-winning, Brazilian Carnaval dance and percussion company and carnaval group, a diverse community of dancers, musicians, and carnavalescos rooted in the study of Afro-Brazilian dance and percussion.

Before his untimely passing in 2006, Mestre Aceituno developed one of the largest, strongest SF Carnaval contingents. Fogo Na Roupa, under the artistic direction of Jose Rivera and Metzi Henriquez, continues to fire up the crowds. The group has won multiple SF Carnaval Grand Championships, most recently in 2011, as well as Best of the Bay 2011, and a 2012 “Corazon Del Barrio Award” from Mission Cultural Center.

Diamond Sponsors of NeekOn are Bita Daryabari of Pars Equality Center, and Farzad Naimi

Calendar Editors:

WHAT:  NeekOn*

A ONE DAY EVENT – to Inspire Kindness

– Connecting Our Communities with

LIVE MUSIC, DANCE, VISUAL ARTS, and FOOD from Multiple Cultures

and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Building Activities

WHEN:  Sat. Sept. 26, 2015 — 11:00 am – 5:30 pm

VENUES:  2 Venues in Golden Gate Park in SF

– Outdoors at the Band Shell

– Indoors at the Koret Auditorium in the de Young Museum

– 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

TIX:  All Outdoor events FREE.

2 Indoor shows are paid ticketed events.

Performance Schedule:

Indoor Performances in Koret Auditorium – de Young Museum

* Ticketed Events. Tix at http://iranican.com/neekon/tickets/

*11:00 am – Noon – Sina Sarlak & Nava Ensemble (Amir Nojan, Saeed Kamjoo, Sina Dehghani)

TICKETS: $15 – 25 http://iranican.com/neekon/events/sina-sarlak-nava-ensamble/

*12:30 – 2:00 pm – Bahram Beyzaei’s “1001st Night” Play reading by Mojdeh Shamsaei (90 mins)

TICKETS: $35 – 47 http://iranican.com/neekon/events/bahram-beyzaei1/

2:30 – 3:00 pm – Pezhham and Diana Rowan – Free event

3:00 – 4:15 pm – EQ Workshops – Free event

– EQ Activities:

– A live gratitude mural painting guided by a professional mural artist inviting community members to express what they are grateful about on the wall, calligraphy workshop of Persian and Sanskrit; carpet waving workshop; recycled paper origami workshop and more!

– EQ Activities for Children:

  • Henna tattoo artist; Inflatable house; painting workshop, plus more!

The EQ team is a group of volunteers who will be conducting activities to engage and inform attendees about emotional intelligence (thinking and behavior that may be offensive and/or discriminatory against other members of the community)

* Ticketed events – http://iranican.com/neekon/tickets/

Outdoor Performances in Bandshell – Music Concourse Drive – FREE

Kabir Singh – Comic – will MC the Outdoor Stage

12:30 -12:45 pm Stage Programming Begins

12:45 – 1:00 Dance: – Persian Folklore Dance Flash Mob

1:00 – 1:45  Hoss Zare – Hosting a Cooking Demonstration & Contest.

1:45 – 2:00 Dance: Ballet Afsaneh – Persian classical/ contemporary

2:15 – 3:00  Rana Mansour and Karmandan

3:00 – 3:15 Dance: – La Tania Baile Flamenco School & Company

with special guest soloist Melissa Cruz

4:00 – 4:45  TBD

5:00 – 5:30  Fogo Na Roupa –Drumming ensemble.

Please check website http://iranican.com/neekon for info and performer updates and any time changes.

PRESS MATERIALS:

For press materials and hi-res color press photos, visit:

http://iranican.com/neekon/press/

WEB PAGE:  http://iranican.com/neekon

TRAILER:  https://youtu.be/RI6IhiHyhS8

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Photos
Sina Sarlak and Nava Ensamble

Sina Sarlak & Nava Ensemble
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Bahram Beyzaei
Bahram Beyzaie
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Rana Mansour / Karmandan
Rana Mansour & Kamkaran
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Ballet Afsaneh
Ballet Afsaneh
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Niosha Dance Academy
The Niosha Dance Academy
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Beshkan Dance Academy
Beshkan Dance Academy
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La Tania Baile Flamenco School & Company
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Melissa Cruz
Melissa Cruz – Flamenco
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Pezhham and Diana
Pezhham and Diana
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Rupa and April Fishes
Rupa & the April Fishes
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Kabir-Singh-1000x750
Kabir Singh
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Hoss Zare
Chef Hoss Zaré
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Bios

Performer Bios


Sina Sarlak -Vocal, He started singing as a child and was only 7 years old when he first sang in one of the national TV series. Since then he started music and singing seriously and passionately. He learned complete percussion (Tonbak) lessons with Jamshid Mohebbi and continued professionally for 6 years with the Great Master of Tonbak Naser Farhangfar. He has won many first place awards at festivals for his singing and percussion performances. He has also studied with the Great Master of vocal Mr. Mohammadreza Shajarian during his training to become a professional vocalist. He spent years of learning (Tar) another music instrument with Master Keyvan Saket. He performs concerts around the world and recorded 27 albums with various composers and bands.

 

NAVA ENSEMBLE Players

Saeed Kamjoo-Kamancheh, born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran, is a Persian musician and composer. He started learning kamancheh at the age of 17 under the supervision of Ardeshir Kâmkâr. He furthered his studies in the instrumental and vocal repertoires of Classical Persian music under the guidance of such renowned masters as Ali Akbar Shekârchi and Ustad Asghar Bahâri. He is a graduate of Music department from Tehran University. His approach to playing kamancheh is based on his perception of the values in classical Persian music. Although his music has its roots in Classical Persian music, he allows himself to explore new musical styles. Kamjoo moved to Montreal in 1997 and has been collaborating with various ensembles in Canada, the USA and Europe. He has recorded many albums and performed in numerous music festivals around in Canada, the USA, Mexico, U.K, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Greece, Turkey and Hong Kong. Saeed Kamjoo has also performed as a guest artist with Dastan Ensemble, one of the most renowned Persian musical groups. His composition for string quartet and vocal based on poetry of Omar Khayyám (12th c.) was played in Toronto in 2012.

 

Sina Dehghani-Tombak, was born in 1976 Tehran, Iran. He started learning the Tombak at the age of 14, studying for 4 years with Bahram Dehghani. He continued his studies for 2 years with Majid Hesabi. Sina continued learning and perfecting his knowledge with great Master Navid Afghah. He started learning the Daf on his own, but later he learned from the great Master of the Daf, Bijan Kamkar. He attended Master Masoud Habibi’s classes and continued his lessens for 10 additional years. He actively taught Tombak and Daf in Isfahan’s music Institutes for 10 years and while doing so. He performed with many renowned Persian ensembles. He lives in Sacramento, CA and continues his activities and performances throughout the USA.

 

Amir Nojan-Setar was born in Shiraz, Iran in 1980.  He is a Persian classical musician best known for his skills at playing Setar, a Persian lute.  He is also known for his comprehensive knowledge of Persian traditional/classical repertoire known as “Radif”. He started studying the traditional Persian music at the age of 12 and he has benefited from the teachings of great masters of Persian music such as Ustad Dariush Talaei, Ustad Jalal Zolfonoon and Ustad Mohammad Reza Lotfi.
While still in Iran, he established and directed “Nava Ensemble” in 1998 and has continued that work in the USA. Amir has played concerts in Iran, Europe and the USA as a composer, soloist, improviser and ensemble player. Amir has collaborated with renowned musicians such as Alim Qasimov and Shahram Nazeri at Stanford University, where in 2011 he gave a lecture on “The History of Setar and its significant role in the Iranian classical music.

In 2012, Amir founded the first professional academy for the teaching of Persian music and arts named “Shiraz Arts Academy” in Northern CA (San Jose).

 

Bahram Beyzaie is one of Iran’s most acclaimed filmmakers, playwrights, and scholars of the history of Iranian theater, both secular and religious. He was a leader of the generation of filmmakers known as the Iranian New Wave, beginning in the late 1960s, and has since directed more than a dozen prize-winning films. In 1968 he was one of the first ones to join the controversial Iranian Writer’s Guild (Kanun-e Nevisandegan-e Iran). He started his film career with a successful short named “Uncle Mustache” (Amoo Sibiloo) in 1970. Immediately after that he directed and produced his masterpiece “Downpour” (Ragbaar) with the late Parviz Fannizadeh as its main character. Since then he has produced and directed 8 other movies and has made significant contribution to the development of cinema and theatre in Iran. Despite his popularity and knowledge, Bayzai has never been successful in gaining the support of the government, neither before nor after the revolution. After close to 20 years, two of his films “Death of Yazdgerd” and “Ballad of Tara” have still not been able to receive a screening permit. Both movies have been shelved due to the fact that they are not in accordance with the Islamic code currently in use in Iranian motion picture industry. “Bashu, the Little Stranger” was going to be his third film to be shelved but it finally got a screening permit after the end of Iran-Iraq war. The movie is about a little boy who has lost his home and family to the war. His last movie “The Travellers” was practically destroyed after censors cut out about 30 minutes of the movie. He is breaking his silence after seven years with a group work called “Stories of Kish” which consists of seven episodes

 

He has also conducted pioneering research into the roots of ancient legends derived from Indo-Iranian mythology and known collectively as A Thousand and One Nights. He is that rare artist who is also an erudite critic and scholar of his myriad crafts. 

 

Born in Tehran, Beyzaie was for many years the head of the Theatre Arts Department at Tehran University. His two-volume study of the history of Iranian theatre is still considered the authoritative account of this history. Since his arrival at Stanford he has staged several of his plays and given workshops on Iranian mythology and cinema. He currently teaches courses on Iranian theatre and cinema. Title/Position: Lecturer, Stanford Program in Iranian Studies.

 

Pezhham Akhavass is a world class percussionist, Global Music Director of San Francisco World Music Festival, and modern day virtuoso of Persian percussive instruments Tombak and Daf. Born in 1980 in Iran into the artistic Akhavass family, with the support of his renowned father Mostafa,   Pezhham began studying Tombak at the age of 5. In addition to Tombak and Daf, Pezhham is knowledgeable about Setar, Tanbour and Oud, and has studied other percussion instruments including: Indian Tabla with the guidance of Ostad Zakir Hussain. Earned his BA from Sureh University, Tehran. He has toured and performed extensively at notable festivals and in prestigious venues throughout Iran, Turkey, Europe, USA, Australia, and Asia, performing with world master musicians such as YoYo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, and Diana Rowan. Pezhham has worked with the top names in Persian music, including Shahram Nazeri, Hossein Alizadeh, Aliakbar Moradi, Saeid Farajpouri, and Hossein Omomi. Pezhham teaches and gives lectures and demonstrations in Persian music and performance. He is currently studying music at SF State University. www.pezhham.com

 

Diana Rowan is an award-winning musical artist currently performing worldwide and recording both independently and in collaboration with other musicians, Diana Rowan’s playing and compositions have unusual power and beauty derived from her ability to integrate the musical traditions of the many countries in which she has lived and traveled. Born in Ireland as the child of an Irish diplomat, Diana has performed all over the world, including the East Coast, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Diana’s 30 year performance career reaches worldwide from the World Harp Congress in Australia, to Washington DC’s Smithsonian Institution, to the US Embassy in Vietnam, to Eastern European cathedrals. She can be heard on many CDs and soundtracks for film and TV, including the recently released first-ever Celtic harp and Persian percussion fusion album with tombak master Pezhham Akhavass, entitled “The Sky at Dawn”. Based in the Bay Area, Diana holds a PhD in Music Theory plus an MM in Piano Performance. Diana teaches and presents workshops and lectures worldwide. Diana believes strongly in the healing power of music and plays often in hospitals and healing centers via her company Sage Harpists.

 

Mahali Dance Flash Mob (Persian Folklore)

A colorful collaboration of Community Dance Groups performing Iranian regional folk dances. Includes Niosha Dance Academy, Beshkan Dance Academy & dancers from the Bay Area. Organized by the Ballet Afsaneh Dance Academy.

The Niosha Dance Academy, founded by Niosha Nafei in 1991, preserves, produces, and performs traditional and contemporary dances from the Iranian/Persian cultural world. They offer classes for individuals interested in learning these dances, and performs for the Iranian American community, and represents that community in dance performances in the wider American community, and in international venues. Through its classes and performances, they provide information and education about Iranian culture, tradition, and history, to the Iranian American community and serves as a cultural representation of that community. They create a platform for aspiring talent, young and the young at heart to receive structured dance training in various styles of traditional and modern Persian dance as well as belly dancing. Niosha Dance Academy performs throughout the USA at cultural arts festivals, local community events, as well as producing their own annual performance in the Bay Area, and strives to maintain and enhance the awareness of Persian dance and culture.

 

Beshkan Dance Academy was established in 2003 with the goal of expressing to and educating the community about the splendid Persian culture through the art of dance. BDA was introduced to the community with a grand opening at Dance Attack Studios in Sunnyvale, CA. BDA was created by individuals whose love, devotion, and experience for their heritage sparked the desire to educate others about the Iranian culture.
 

Chef Hoss Zaré is a celebrity Iranian chef & owner of Fly Trap Restaurant in SF. Hoss Zaré grew up on his family’s century old farms in Tabriz, Iran. In 1986, after completing mandatory service in the Iranian Air Force, he emigrated to SF where his older brother owned and operated the iconic Billboard Café. In 1989, while enrolled as a pre-med student at UC Davis, he would drive to and from The City to work as a line cook at the historic Fly Trap Restaurant. It was there that owner Walter Zolezzi and Chef Craig Thomas mentored Zaré to the rank of Executive Chef. Over a 25 year career, Chef Hoss Zaré has established a loyal following while at the helm of several restaurants including Aromi, Zaré Sacramento, and Bistro Zaré. After a stint in the Napa Valley, fate would bring him back to the restaurant where his culinary journey began. Chef Hoss Zaré became owner of The Fly Trap Restaurant in 2008. Only then did he truly begin to draw from the flavors and memories of his childhood. Known for his over the top sense of hospitality – often embracing guests with Hossy-Hugs – he is the force that pumps life into the team. He has received many awards and has been the subject of several publications. Currently, he is at work on a memoir and recipe book dedicated to his parents. Hoss was selected to be at NeekOn because of his many contributions to the community. Whether it’s a charity for kids, local issues or any other, Hoss has one way or another been on the scene with his support.

 

Ballet Afsaneh* – is a Bay Area – Performance Company founded in 1986 that melds ancient art forms with modern dance and theater in an unprecedented, richly imagistic approach – Drawing on cultural heritage to create performance work that resonates with universal ideas. From glittering fairytale to cutting edge, thought provoking work, Ballet Afsaneh performances provide an eloquent testament to the diverse expressive arts of Central Asia and beyond. During its 30 year evolution they have earned a reputation for their artistic innovations and inspired theatrical creativity. The company’s work is informed by a traditional performance repertory which includes the folkloric and classical art forms of Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, China and India.  (*Afsaneh – from the Persian, Turkish and Urdu languages: “myth”, “legend”, “history”, “fairytale.”) 

 

Rana Mansour, a rising star, has been featured as the highlight performer on Manoto TV’s annual Persian New Year program a program that typically receives over 50 million viewers. The music video for her song, “Shohare Pooldar” (Rich Husband), was nominated for Best Short Film during the 7th Annual Farhang Foundation Film Festival. She cowrote and contributed piano and vocals for the film, “Beyond Paradise”. In 2005, she was a finalist in the Adult Contemporary category for the VH1 Song of the Year competition for her song, “Leaving Home.” Rana has been seen on the hit Bravo show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, performing her original song, “No Place Like Home”. She was the featured voice for the theme song for the cartoon, “Lili and Lola”, singing in both English and Farsi. Rana can sing in 7 different languages and her latest video, “Yeraz”, is her first time singing in Armenian.

 

KarmandanIn a world where the headlines on the news are filled with conflicts between different cultures and races, the band KARMANDAN unites musicians of different backgrounds and ethnicities. The band creator and musical director Erwin Khachikian, an Armenian Iranian, saxophonist Joel Nuñez from Cuba, bassist Daniele De Cario from Italy, and drummer Fernando Jaramillo from Chile come together on one stage to play in unison and harmony.

 

La Tania Baile Flamenco School & Company (La Tania will not be performing.)

 

The La Tania Baile Flamenco Company & School was founded in 2007 by award winning and internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer La Tania. Focused on the deep roots, rhythms and fluidity of traditional flamenco, the mission of the company is to share the authentic beauty and power that is the art of flamenco music and dance, with audiences everywhere. Nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Ensemble Performance for the 2012 presentation of Despertar Es Un Color, the La Tania Baile Flamenco Company & School has presented as a featured group in such venues as the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, City Dance Onstage, The Rotunda Dance Series presented by World Arts West and Dancers’ Group, Fiesta Flamenca and the annual showcase of Punta y Tacon.

 

Melissa Cruz (special guest soloist with La Tania Baile Flamenco School & Company) 
Melissa Cruz is a Bay Area-based flamenco artist and instructor. Garnering years of experience as a company dancer and soloist, she presented her own production in 2007, La Vida Flamenca, in both San Francisco and Houston, Texas. She regularly performs in the local flamenco cabaret circuit and has served as Adjunct Dance Faculty at The University of San Francisco, as a guest instructor at the world dance youth program DanceVersity, as a soloist in the 2012 San Francisco International Arts Festival and has presented in seven San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festivals; in 2010 and 2011, as a featured soloist. She was commissioned to present a solo representing the genre of flamenco in the 2013 San Francisco Isadora Duncan Awards Ceremony and was a featured artist in the 2014 Tucson Flamenco Festival. 


Rupa & the April Fishes – A sound that is as difficult to define as life is to confine, the music of
Rupa & the April Fishes pulls from 8 years of street parties, festivals and symphonic concerts on three continents, three studio albums, one live album and one string quartet recording in the making, several languages from English to Tzotzil to French, many musical traditions, countless moments of joy, sorrow, loss, and transformation and a fierce independent spirit. The band’s first album eXtraOrdinary rendition examines love from many angles, with lyrics mostly in French; the second Este Mundo traces the plight of migrants crossing borders, largely in Spanish; BUILD is their latest studio album primarily in English, produced with collaborator Todd Sickafoose. Its 12 songs examine the road from solitude to solidarity in both directions and arise from this particularly tender moment of global awakening—from the collapse of capitalism and false democracies to the rise of populist movements around the world. Their LIVE at the Independent album was produced at the request of fans who wanted to capture the wild balance of composition and improvisation that is the hallmark of the band’s rock performance. They are currently recording again with Todd Sickafoose, an exquisite collection of string quartet love songs arranged by composer Mark Orton for Quartet San Francisco. http://www.theaprilfishes.com/

Kabir Singh – Comic – will MC the Outdoor Stage

– Gabriel Iglesias’s Stand-Up Revolution on “Comedy Central”
– Fox’s Hit show “The Family Guy”
– 2014 winner of the San Francisco Int’l. Comedy Competition
– Int’l. Comedy Showcase on the “BBC Network”

Kabir Singh is fresh off his Comedy Central debut on the hit show Gabriel Iglesias’s Stand-Up Revolution. A high-energy, crowd-pleasing comic with an in-your-face attitude and razor-sharp wit, Kabeezy has won numerous comedy competitions, including winning the 39th Annual SF Int’l. Comedy Competition by taking first place in all five shows in the final round. Kabir’s feat was the first time that has happened in the competition’s rich 39-year history which included past competitors Dane Cook, Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Ellen, Sinbad, Louis CK and many more top comedian stars. 

Kabir Singh can also be seen headlining clubs and colleges all over the USA. Headlining full weekends at some of the top comedy clubs around including the Sacrmaneto Punchline, San Jose Improv, El Paso Comic Strip Comedy Club, Sold out shows at the Laugh Factory in Long Beach and Hollywood, CA, Denver Improv and over 50 colleges nationwide. 

Kabir will also be heard doing voice-over work on the 2015 season of Fox’s hit show “The Family Guy”. With int’l. appearances on  “The Starz Network, ” BBC Network”, “TV Asia” and another upcoming “Comedy Central” appearance It is safe to say that catching Kabir now on the way up will be good for you wallet in the near future! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0oSCC4VLUE

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