Balmy family Christmas in New Haven, Connecticut.
Ambient tunes for a desert women’s weekend.
Our own Akademiska Kören i Stockholm enjoyed a unique opportunity this fall in collaborating with Aftab Kören, a local Persian-Swedish choir, to perform Afshin Khaef’s original composition Persian Epilogue. Directed by Khaef and accompanied by Stockholms Akademiska Orkester in glorious Berwaldhallen, the endeavor felt a timely celebration of eastern and western, classical and contemporary traditions. As loosely translated from the program synopsis:
The oratorio is based on a 20th-century poem by Siavash Kasra’i, alongside more ancient verses from Vahshi Bafqi and Rumi. Arash the Archer is a heroic icon whose name appears in the Avesta; the legend of his fateful arrow, shot to reclaim the border from invading Turan, is familiar to most Iranians. This Swedish staging of Persian Epilogue is the first on its scale, and perhaps the largest Persian choral performance to date in Europe.
The 80-minute performance was generously supported by Kulturskolan, Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund, and the Stockholm County Council. Movement XIII: Manam Arash is sampled above, or read the BBC-Persian review here (perhaps with the aid of Chrome Translate for those, like us, less skilled in Farsi). Many thanks to Afshin and the rest of Aftab Kören for welcoming us into such a memorable project!
Top and asterisked (*) photos credit: Hamed Rafi
After a week clearing out our New York storage unit (final steps in our Stockholm move), we were lucky to seize a few days with friends on the opposite coast at Sierra Meadows, in the foothills of Yosemite.
We were thrilled to connect with so many old and newer friends from San Francisco and Los Angeles—not to mention Portland, Chicago, and Dublin—that made the Memorial Day trek, many with growing families.
The early summer days were gentle, the evenings golden.
Nighttime brought some stunning area musicians to entertain the crowd, and starry light shows above and below.
Top & asterisked (*) photos credit: Andy Shirey