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Folk Music and Tales of Kurdistan

January 26, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

$20 – $24

Performances by master storyteller Diane Edgecomb and musicians Sirvan Manhoobi (oud), Raman Osman (saz), Nariman Assadi (percusion), and Asaf Ophir (woodwinds)

The rich musical tradition of Kurdistan and its storytelling treasures weave an exotic tapestry of rhythmic songs, passion and suspense in this unusual program. From Iraqi-Kurdistan’s mysterious story The Zay Tree and Tay Falcon and the hilarious teaching tale Ruvi u Gur! (Fox and Wolf!), to the poignant Kurdish Cinderella story (gathered in the mountains of Kurdistan) colorful characters and dramatic situations are enhanced by haunting Kurdish melodies and folk songs.

Tickets: $20 advance / $24 day of the show

Performances by:

Diane Edgecomb
Author of A Fire in My Heart, the first collection of Kurdish folktales to be published in English, Diane Edgecomb is also one of America’s leading storytellers, winner of the only ORACLE award for Storytelling Excellence in the Northeast the National Circle of Excellence award and five Storytelling World awards. A transformational teller with a rich background in the theatre arts, Diane’s dynamic storytelling embraces elements of theatre, movement and song bringing each piece vividly to life. A featured teller on NPR and winner of a Year’s Best Performance award for her theater work in Boston, Diane’s storytelling has been seen at prestigious venues throughout the country and internationally for over twenty-five years including the National Storytelling Festival, the International Storytelling Center, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival and the Kurdish Heritage Library and Museum. Passionate about the power of story and what it can do for our world, Diane’s keynotes and workshops often accompany her performances inspiring a renewed vision for our world as well as encouraging each person’s expressive and narrative abilities.

Sirvan Manhoobi
Oud player and, composer.
Sirvan Manhoobi started his musical journey at thirteen when he started taking Taar/Seh-Taar lessons under supervision of master Keivan Saket and master Behrooz Hemati.
He later became interested in Oud, attending master Arsalan Kamkar’s classes and choosing Oud as his primary Instrument.
He also significantly benefited from Courses offered by Masters Mohamadrez Lotfi (Radif Navazi-Iranian classical music repertoire), Mehran Rohani (Priciples and history of music),and Siamak Jahangiri (Improvisation and Analysis of Radif)
Musical Activities :
* Secretary of Razi university Music center.
* Vice secretary of Student Music Foundation
* Awarded as the Best soloist in 3 Iranian music festivals in
-Iranian Music Festival, Shiraz 2006,
-Fifth music festival of students of the country, Tehran 2008.
-Iranian Soloist’s Festival, Tehran 2009.
* Playing in several Iranian music albums, the most noteworthy of them being:
o Jaameh Rangi (Colorful Garment) by Alireza Faiz Bashipour, 2017
o Ghameh Zamaneh by Mohsen Beigi, 2018
* Compilation of the book musical etudes arranged for oud. Under printing.
* Cooperation with master Ardeshir Kamkar.
* Forming Bamdad music ensemble focusing on Kurdish and Iranian Classical music
Bamdad Ensemble performed many concerts with renowned Iranian singers such as Bijan Kamkar and Aziz Shahrokh
Sirvan is a MA graduate of archaeology from Tehran university. He has migrated to United States,  California in 2015 and has continued his musical  activities there,  some of them are:
– Teaching and performing Iranian Classical and Kurdish music.
-Cooperating and performing in various music bands such as Avaasaaz,  Hafez and with singers like: Alireza Shahmohammadi and Sina Sarlak.
-Performing Iranian Music concerts in LA,  San Diego,  San Francisco,  San Jose,  Berkeley,  Fresno,  Irevine,….
-Collaboration in several musical projects of World Music:
▪Ossetia World Music Festival, Russia, 2014
▪Masala festival in University of Oklahoma with Bamdad Ensemble, 2017
▪Stanford Middle East Ensemble, 2017
▪Strong Together with Rich Perks, 2017
▪Peace Bridge, Faiths and Cultures United by Music, 2017
▪Yerba Buena Garden Festival with Ajyal Quartet, 2018
▪Let Her Sing, A Celebration of Female Voices, 2018 & 2019

He also cooperated with Writer/Director Bahram Bezaei, as composer and Taar Player for his most recent play “Tarabnameh” produced by Stanford Iranian Studies in 2016.

Asaf Ophir
The son of an Israeli film composer, Asaf Ophir was exposed to many styles of music from an early age: His father’s love for jazz, the Jewish music of his heritage, a classical upbringing, and the Middle Eastern backdrop of his childhood. From the very beginning, he was drawn to many different sources and genres, as well as to different musical instruments. Ophir began to play woodwinds in Israeli musicals while studying at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and later at the Jerusalem Acamedy. Arriving in the United States in 2014, he began to perform in musicals around the Bay Area such as the award winning Love Sick in 2017, and The People in the Picture in 2018. The San Francisco Chronicle writes: “Asaf Ophir gives the clarinet the timbre of a trumpet, then a violin, then a raspy scream… the instrument’s wail almost becomes too plaintive and beautiful to bear.” AsafOphir.com

Nariman Assadi
Nariman Assadi was born in Hamedan, Iran on January 1, 1992. Raised in Tehran, he always felt drawn to percussion instruments. At the age of thirteen, he began studying Tombak under Master Amir Mogharab Samadi. From 2008 to 2013, Nariman performed at Vahdat Hall as a soloist and with the Persian Percussion Ensemble at Pars Academy, the premier music academy for children. After mastering Tombak, he then began learning Daf under the great Master Bijan Kamkar. With a strong understanding of the Daf and Tombak, Nariman started learning Barbat (Oud) under Master Mohammad Firouzi.

In 2015, Nariman immigrated to the United States. He immediately began his professional music career by performing and attending festivals. In 2017, he started learning percussion performance and world music with Professor Daniel Kennedy at Sacramento State University. Along with being a member of various ensembles, Nariman also teaches Daf, Tombak, and Music for children.

Raman Osman

Raman Osman, Kurdish composer and master tembûr/tambour (saz) musician from Al-Hasaka, Syria. He’s a self-taught musician began at the age of 10. He started composing at the age of 15 when he began developing his own style of playing tambour. He has performed at a variety of venues, including the Damascus Opera House, and Universities in Syria. Raman currently lives in Northern California where he performs Kurdish music and music from the Middle East as a solo artist as well as with artists from various world music traditions.


January 26, 2020
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
$20 – $24


Dana Sherry


Ashkenaz Community Center
1317 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94702 United States
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(510) 525-5054