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  • Berkeley, CA / Silk Road House 1944 University Avenue Berkeley, CA, 94704 United States (map)

For 3 hour workshop: Advance $45.00 ($48.24 w/service fee) / Door price: $50

Caravan of Life: A Vocal Workshop with Mahsa Vahdat (Tehran, Iran)

The Kitka Institute is pleased to continue our series of workshops with Persian vocalist and master teacher, Mahsa Vahdat. Mahsa's next workshop will focus on giving voice to the cosmic and existential poetry of Omar Khayyam.

Born on May 18, 1048, in Nishapur, Khorasan province, Persia, Omar Khayyam was a prominent and influential Persian mathematician, astronomer, poet and philosopher whose major works had a tremendous impact on scholars in English-speaking countries even centuries later. He compiled numerous astronomical tables and created the Jalali calendar which was adopted in 1075 by Malik Shah I as the official calendar in Persia. Omar Khayyam made a significant contribution to calendar reform, heliocentric theory, and he pioneered in mathematics a geometrical method of solving cubic equations by intersecting a parabola with a circle. He achieved fame in Persia during his time particularly as an astronomer, but he is mostly known in the Western world for his poetic writings.

The Rubaiyat was Khayyam's collection of hundreds of quatrains, and it was first translated from Farsi to English in 1859 by Edward Fitzgerald. The poems celebrated the pleasures of life while illuminating the nuanced political and religious context in which they were created. Khayyam's verses express the pain, hope, and sufferings of human beings, loneliness and the complexity of the soul. Khayyam explores timeless existential matters. He expresses the great unknowns of the beginning and end of life and the world, challenging us to embrace uncertainty, seize the moment, and enjoy life. Khayyam's courageous, rebellious attitude towards universal, essential human questions are what make his writings so universal and relevant to this day.

Registration is limited to 15 participants and open to singers of all backgrounds and levels.

Born in Tehran in 1973, Mahsa Vahdat began studying piano and Persian singing from an early age. She also learned to play the setar, a traditional Persian stringed instrument. Mahsa entered the University of Arts in Tehran in 1993, graduating with a B.A. in Music. Since 1995, Mahsa has performed and taught as an independent artist in concerts and festivals in Asia, Europe, the US, and Africa, and has collaborated with numerous musician from many continents. She performs regularly in a vocal duet with her sister, Marjan Vahdat.

Following her participation in the 2004 Lullabies from the Axis of Evil, recording project, Mahsa started a long partnership with the Norwegian record label Kirkelig Kulturverksted (KKV) which has led to worldwide release of a series of critically acclaimed albums. Since 2007, Mahsa has been an ambassador for the Freemuse Organization, an independent international organization that advocates for freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide. In 2010, Mahsa Vahdat was granted the Freemuse Award.

Recently, Mahsa released an award-winning new solo a cappella album entitled "The Sun Will Rise." "Placeless" a new recording with Kronos Quartet and Marjan Vahdat was released this month on the KKV label.

For more information about Mahsa Vahdat, visit

Earlier Event: August 25

Unleash Your Voice Intensive with Briget Boyle

Later Event: September 21

ResoNation Festival Opening Night