Songs to the Beloved: Mahsa Vahdat (Iran) & Kitka

  • First Unitarian Church of Oakland 685 14th Street Oakland, CA, 94612 United States

Buy tickets here.

This special concert joins two of the worlds foremost exponents of international women's folk-based music; exploring the many faces of love, expressed by powerful, courageous artists rooted in some of the worlds most passionate women's vocal traditions.

Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble has earned international recognition for its distinctive sound, exploring a vast palette of ancient yet contemporary-sounding vocal effects. The ensembles earthy to ethereal timbres evoke an astonishing range of subtle to extreme inner states, instincts and emotions. Kitka's commitment to presenting traditional song as a living and evolving expressive art form has led to adventurous collaborations with some of the worlds most exciting indigenous musicians and contemporary composers ranging from Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares to Meredith Monk. Kitka began as a grassroots group of amateur singers from diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds who shared a passion for the stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, and resonant strength of traditional Eastern European women's vocal music. The ensemble's wide-ranging performance, teaching, and recording activities have exposed millions to the haunting beauty of their unique repertoire. 

Mahsa Vahdat was trained in classical Persian singing and regional folk music by master musicians in Iran. After the Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979, public female singing was banned. To this day, female singers can only perform for authorized women-only audiences or alongside a male voice, and can never perform solo in public. Mahsa Vahdat's repertoire is inspired by regional and traditional music from Iran infused with her unique and resilient artistic sensibility. Her song lyrics are mostly mystical and love poems by great Persian poets like Hafez, Rumi, Saadi, who lived several centuries ago, as well as works contemporary Iranian poetry speaking about Iranian society. 

An active campaigner for human rights, Mahsa is an award-winning ambassador of Freemuse, an independent international organization advocating freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide. She has attracted considerable attention with her work on the record Lullabies from the Axis of Evil, and her new solo album The Sun Also Rises.