A unique cultural experience that weaves ancient with modern expressions of Middle Eastern stories, food, music and wisdom to celebrate a rich pluralistic culture.
In the global imagination, the Middle East is often a place associated with violence, war, and subjugated women. Over a century of nationalism and colonialism has traumatized a land and people with a rich culture and indigenous wisdom. Drawing on the cornerstone of Middle Eastern literature– 1001 Nights and its brave, brilliant storyteller ScherAzad–we respond to division and destruction with creation- reframing the Middle East as an epicenter of music, art and wisdom. We move beyond artificial borders, and religious divisions to celebrate a region of the world that can offer so much to her brothers and sisters.
Azad ( “Free” in Armenian) is a kaleidoscopic story within a story within a story, centered on a
Storyteller’s discovery of her great-great grandfather’s shadow puppets in Aleppo during the Syrian war. A century after Abkar Knadjian salvaged his family and his art from the Armenian Genocide, his great great granddaughter Sona Tatoyan unearths a trunk in the attic of the family home, filled with his handmade puppets. This journey leads Sona to discover 1001 Nights and
ScherAzad (the bold, brilliant weaver of tales who counters destruction with creation) and catalyzes an epiphany: the frame story of 1001 Nights is a universal map for healing
Tastes & Aromas
The audience is guided on a journey through the layered flavors and intoxicating aromas of Armenia, Iran and the Middle East. With a carefully curated series of dishes, the myriad tiles that compose this region’s enticing culinary mosaic is revealed. The communal breaking of bread allows time for connection, and the sharing of personal stories.
Music Of Unspoken Tales
A narrated musical journey highlights the indigenous instruments from the lands of 1001 Nights. Folk songs symbolize our shared Armenian, Iranian, Jewish, and Arab heritage and activate our DNA while the ethnic and electronic sounds intersect to create a modern expression. This multi-part, transcendental experience weaves meditation, improvisation, and celebration organically to connect mind, body and spirit. This experience is crafted and composed by notable musicians of different ethnicities, including some of the best local musicians in Armenia and Iran.
MEDITATION: Surrender to the hypnotic power of the instruments as they guide you into a tranquil meditative state.
IMPROVISATION: As the melodies and rhythms emerge organically, they blend traditional with the contemporary in an alchemy of sound.
CELEBRATION: As the music builds, the somatic movement leads you into a trance-like state of celebration.