August 8th, 2015

Nusha Sepehri

Nusha Sepehri was born in 2004 and raised in the United States. Her parents have encouraged her to learn about the Persian culture and language since she was very young.

She speaks, reads, and writes in both English and Persian. Her father told her stories from Shahnameh which captivated her. They both believe that Shahnameh has beautiful stories and great lessons. They wanted others to have the opportunity to also learn about these stories, which resulted in their collaboration in the creation of the audio book collection, "The Stories of Shahnameh" which is available in both English and Persian languages.

Nusha will be narrating one of the fascinating stories of Shahnameh at the Festival.

For more information, visit: www.shahnameh-audio.com

Vancouver Pars National Ballet (VPNB)

VPNB was established in 1989, with a vision of both enlightening and interacting with all communities nationally and internationally. VPNB is committed to preserving and perpetuating the fragile tradition of Iranian folklore dances in an endeavor to project how art can interconnect communities.

Our goal is to enrich the lives of our participants and spectators. We are driven by a strong sense of duty to educate and integrate this ethnic art form that is on the verge of extinction. This group utilizes dance as one of the most effective tools of communication and understanding with all the diverse cultures in Canada and around world. Creating a profound interest in the hearts of innumerable young artists and trainees is the most satisfying and rewarding criteria of this group. We believe a healthy body incorporates a healthy soul.

Sina Dibay

Sina was born in Tehran in 1988. He started learning to play Tonbak by Farhad Andalibi when he was 7 years old. Learning musical theories, and rhythms helped him to choose Daf as his professional musical instrument. He started learning Daf from Farzad Andalibi and Bijan Kamkar at age 9. After 3 years, at age 12 he participated in the national student musical competition at Roudaki Hall and was recognized as top five drum players.

Later he had other performances with Nafir ensemble at Tehran. He moved to United States in 2011 to pursue his Master degree in Computer Science. At the same time he and one of his friends started the Salmak ensemble to acquaint the public with historic Persian culture, specifically classical music. The band has played in different concerts across the US, and has played in different cultural festivals.

In 2013, the band performed Persian traditional music at TEDx Talks.

The Seattle Iranian Choir, directed by Afshin Sepehri

This is a new ensemble made up of members of the local Iranian American community. The focus of the group is Iranian music. Their first performance was at the 2015 Nowruz Festival.

At the Iranian Festival, the ensemble will perform the song, “Afarin”. “Afarin" is a tribute to Ferdowsi, with lyrics from Shahnameh and music by Afshin Sepehri. The choir is accompanied by pianist Payam Khastkhodaei.

Nima Mirzaei

He was born in Isfahan, Iran in June of 1977, His passion for music began at an early age. Nima has been playing music since age of 9, with accordion, then piano, and key board. At the age of 14 he started Setar with Ostad Behzadi which was a beginning steps to attending music school. He has been in the Real Estate field since 2013.

Elham Hakimi Lawson

Elham is a proud Iranian-American who enjoys sharing her love of Persian culture and dance and finds great joy in her work as a Persian dance instructor.

She joined Delshodeh Dance Ensemble in 2008 and started choreographed dancing with Heather Rastovac and Sonja Hintz, then formed that group to Karoun Dance Ensemble (a choreographed, classical Persian dance group) in 2012. She has performed in different events such as, Seattle and Portland Iranian Festival, Folk Life Festival, Seattle Benaroya Hall and Town Hall, University of Washington, city of Bellingham, and Vancouver BC.

She is also a volleyball player, coach and referee, and also plays Dulcimer (Santur) - a Persian musical instrument and loves to help others.

She has been working in Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center since 2005 and loves her job.

Karavans Dance Troupe

They specializes in folkloric dances from the Middle East, North Africa and Persia. They bring to life these colorful, exciting dances by carefully researching the music, costumes and dance steps that represent each country. Karavans has appeared for many years at the Folk Life Festival, Arab Festival, Turkish and Persian Festivals as well as at various cultural events and educational.

Check out their website: http://karavansdancetroupe.com/

Mersedeh Shahrazad

Mersedeh Shahrazad who will be hosting a Kashk Bademjoon Cooking Demonstration at 12:30pm in the open area of the Upper Level and we are very excited that she will be sharing her cooking tips with all of us!

Iranian-born Mersedeh Shahrazad has lived in the United States for the last 38 years. She has a degree in Dietetics and is the Nutrition Director at a local hospital.Her passion for cooking evolved as she watched her mom, Rezvan, cook authentic Persian food with a twist. She shares the love of cooking with her daughter, Nikki, and hopes to inspire other younger generations of Iranian-Americans. She is currently writing a cook book inspired by her mom's recipes.

Mersedeh loves traveling to different destinations experiencing the culture and the cuisine.

Ali Ghaemmaghami

He studied Persian music at an early age in Master Ahmad Ebadi’s Setar classes in Tehran.Studied Barbat and Radif (Persian classical music repertoire) with two other Masters of Persian classical music ,Master Shahidi and Master Behroozinia at “Central Preservation and Propagation of Music Academy “ in Tehran. Studied Setar Technics and Radif with Master Jalal Zolfonoon. Studied Persian Ney and Radif under instruction of Master Hossein Omoumi.

Check out his blog: http://www.barbatzan.blogfa.com/

Mehdi Bagheri : Composer, Kamanche and Setar Player

Mehdi was born in Kermanshah in 1980, and started his musical endeavors by learning to play the Tonbak by Ramin Tafazoli. He then started learning other instruments in order to familiarize himself even further with Iranian music and composing. These included the Setar and Kamanche; he finally chose Kamanche as his main instrument. Mehdi learned playing the Kamancheh by Maestro Ardashir Kamkar, and studied drama at the university at the same time. He graduated from Azad University , the Theater Faculty in 2003, holding a BA degree.

Mehdi has held several concerts across the world at Norway, Germany, Spain,France, Turkey, US, to name a few and has gone on stage in a variety of credible festivals and halls.

Mehdi has been dynamically pursuing his work in different fields such as music of the film, eclectic music and Iranian classical music inside Iran and abroad. He has also published a variety of works with a great many number of singers and musicians such as Greg Ellis, Mitchel Forman, Sussan Deyhim, AliAkbar Moradi, etc. Amongst all, his most important works include recording and publishing the Radif [the old melodic figures preserved through many generations by oral tradition] by Maestro Aliakbar Khan Shahnazi; solo and group pieces for Kamanche, etc.

Visit http://www.parstimes.com/musicians/mehdi_bagheri/ To see an example of his performance visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYWON84jWuA

Vandad Massahzadeh

He was born in 1971 in Tehran-Iran.He is a highly talented Iranian Musician,composer and Conductor and plays numerous instruments,including the Accordion, Piano, Daf. Vandad composed more than 20 original scores for theatrical play and TV series and was presented with the Best Music composer of the Year Award in 2005 in Iran. He immigrated to the United States in December 2012 and released his first instrumental album, Melody of Love, on August 2013.

Check out a performance & interview on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP9zMEoQcLs

Sahba Motallebi

A virtuoso of Tar and Setar, Sahba Motallebi is an internationally renowned musician. A member of Iranian National Orchestra, Sahba has been awarded the best Tar player by the Iranian Music Festival for four consecutive years.

She has traveled around the globe presenting Persian music to enthusiasts in numerous countries. To date, Sahba has released a number of CDs and has composed numerous theatrical pieces. A graduated of CalArts in world performance music, she has been an ambassador of classical Persian Music in the United States and has captivated audiences in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and Hollywood bowl.

Check out Chahar Mezrab by Sahba: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJMEvXvee_Y

Ramin Mahjouri

Ramin Mahjouri resides in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the editor of Paivand Newspaper, a weekly publication for the Persian-speaking community in Canada. Ramin also hosts and produces a weekly radio show on RJ1200 and a number of TV programs on Omni and Shaw. Using modern concepts and tools, his calligraphy/painting breaks away from the traditionally structured Persian calligraphy. Works are created using the simplest apps on touch devices. His works have been exhibited in various group exhibitions as well as in "Strong Spirit" exhibition at the Ferry Building Gallery in West Vancouver.

Visit his website at: http://www.raminmahjouri.com/
http://nvartscouncil.ca/user/1187
http://montecristomagazine.com/arts/ramin-mahjouri

Kevan Moezzi aka K-von.

K-von is a headlining comedian on the rise. The star of MTV's hit show "Disaster Date", he's also been on SHOWTIME, CNN's "HLN", Good Morning America, BBC, & NPR to name a few.

His standup comedy career has taken him around the world several times performing in comedy clubs and theaters, for colleges and large non-profit organizations. K-von has recently brought his acting to the big screen as the lead in "The Gingerdead Man 2" along with roles in "Guardian Angel" & the upcoming "Jimmy Vestvood" (Maz Jobrani).

K-von is most excited about the upcoming project he wrote/directed "NOWRUZ: Lost & Found"...a comedic Journey into the Persian New Year. In this 90-minute documentary film, he hilariously invites you along to retrace the roots he never knew and discover the dancing, food, clothing & traditions involved in the Persian New Year.

The SEATTLE SHOWING for his film is on August 9th at the Bellevue Library: https://www.facebook.com/events/1468691523450338/

Check this link for more videos by K-von: http://iranians.kodoom.com/en/k-von/

Check out his own website: http://www.k-voncomedy.com/

Parisa Behzad-Pour

Introducing another one of our great Festival supporters, Parisa Behzad-Pour.

Born in Tehran, Parisa studied French Language and Literature in Tehran and gained her Master of Art degree from York University in Canada. After leaving Iran, she lived and worked in countries such as China, India, Canada and Taiwan. She settled in Seattle in 2005 where she has lived for past ten years.

Currently as an educator at Bellevue College, she is not only teaching all levels of French, but also contributing to development of the new world language programs in both French and Farsi. Parisa is actively contributing to raise awareness on importance of second language acquisition in our community. Therefore, she founded ParisAcademy Northwest, an academy specialized in delivering high quality second language ( French, Farsi, Spanish) enrichment programs for students k-12 in three public school districts. ParisAcademy also offers weekend language classes including Farsi/Persian for all ages. She thrives for excellence and her programs have gained an outstanding reputation due to its coherent curriculum design and consistency. In addition to world languages and culture she has passion for art, music and sports.

To learn more about ParisAcademy go to: parisacademynw.com

Hamid Rahmanian

With Shahnameh being the theme of our Festival, we would like to introduce to you, Hamid Rahmanian as we are excited and proud to have him at our Festival!

Rahmanian is a New York-based Iranian filmmaker and graphic artist. He was educated in Tehran, Iran where he gained his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Tehran University. He has worked as a graphic designer since 1987. In 1992, he received the highest honor and was awarded recognition as the youngest professional designer in Iran. Rahmanian has continued to work as a graphic designer in the US and has been commissioned to do work for cultural organizations and commercial companies including the United Nations, GQ magazine, the Lincoln Center, the Tribeca Film Institute, Pacifica Radio/Democracy Now!, Aramex, and the Eurasia Foundation.

Check out his illustration in The New Shahnameh: http://theepicofthepersiankings.com/book.php

Check the following links out! http://www.npr.org/2013/08/25/214831942/heart-of-iranian-identity-reimagined-for-a-new-generation

Interested in learning about him in Farsi? Check this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvSLWlOojIw

Misha Zadeh

Introducing our very own Artistic and Talented Misha - loyal to the IACA family!

Iranian-born Misha Zadeh Graham is a graphic designer and illustrator who has called Seattle home since the age of five. She holds degrees in Graphic Design and Interdisciplinary Visual Arts from the University of Washington. She worked as a designer for a number of local firms before launching her own practice, Turquoise Creative, in 2001.

In 2002, she launched a line of handmade and letterpress greeting cards and was very soon immersed in a wholesale business with over a hundred accounts throughout North America and Europe. Her cards were sold in Barneys and Liberty of London, among many other smaller stationery stores.

Her work has been featured in publications such as Sunset, RealSimple and O, the Oprah Magazine and clients have included Nordstrom, Chronicle Books and Madison Park Greetings. Currently switching gears to focus more on illustration and surface pattern design, she is collaborating on a children’s book and working on a fabric collection. She has been creating the look and feel of the Seattle Iranian Festival since 2009, and also introduced a literary component to the festival in 2010.

With support from Elliott Bay Book Company, the festival has brought notable authors to Seattle including Jasmin Darznik, Anita Amirrezvani, Porochista Khakpour and Hamid Rahmanian.

One of the few Iranians not living on the Eastside, Misha proudly calls Ballard home, where she lives with her husband Ben and her two ghormesabzi-loving boys.

Website: turquoisecreative.com

kAnoon

Introducing one of our amazing Festival supporters, kAnoon School.

kAnoon offers Persian Farsi classes for children and youth with the goal of preserving and propagating Iranian culture. Our year-round program provides a multi-faceted learning experience through fine arts, music, choir, storytelling, musical play and so much more! kAnoon’s learner-centered and fun-filled curriculum has made this school both an effective and enjoyable experience for the students. kAnoon school locates conveniently in Bellevue and offers classes for all proficiency levels and age groups.

Website: kanoon-seattle.com

Event Partners & Sponsors

4 Culture
The Afrasiabi Family
Kathia & David Geller
Hossein Khorram
Jaguar | Landrover Seattle/Bellevue
Microsoft
Misha Zadeh